FutureSoils research collaboration aims to improve soil health on Irish farms
Grassland Agro has joined forces with Teagasc and University College Cork (UCC) to support FutureSoils, an innovative new research programme that will pave the way to improved efficiency in nitrogen fertiliser use and soil health on Irish farms. Grassland Agri is an Irish company specialising in soil, plant and animal nutrition/welfare.
Grassland Agro, via VistaMilk, the SFI Research Centre for Digitalising Dairy Production and Processing will support two PhD students in Agricultural Science at UCC, who conduct research at Teagasc’s dairy research centre of excellence at Moorepark, and their environmental centre of excellence at Johnstown Castle.
Managing Director of Grassland Agro, Liam Woulfe, commented at the launch: “Grassland Agro are acutely aware of the challenges ahead for the Irish Agri-industry. Policy dictates that chemical fertiliser nitrogen use on Irish farms is becoming increasingly restricted. Strategic use of fertiliser inputs is therefore the future, and we believe this must be underpinned by science. We are pleased to invest in this research and the next generation of agri-research scientists.”
Professor Michael O’Donovan, Head of Grassland Science at Teagasc, stated; “This is a unique project for grassland production and soil science. It will examine the structural, chemical and biological properties of Irish soils to determine how the soil can be harnessed to sustain sward dry matter production despite reduced chemical Nitrogen (N) fertiliser use; the outcomes of the research will be impactful for years to come.”
Professor Sarah Culloty, Head, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, UCC, commented: "It is great to see that Grassland Agro are collaborating with the excellent researchers at UCC, Teagasc and Vistamilk on new ways to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges, while supporting the talent pipeline that is so critical to the Irish Agricultural industry.”
Professor of Agricultural Science at UCC and academic programme director, Frank Buckley, added: ‘’This is a very exciting initiative that will equip the Irish industry with new knowledge to reboot how we currently appraise soil fertility. It will bring precision to on-farm nitrogen fertiliser management through tailored solutions that will support enhanced environmentally and economically sustainable nutrient use on Irish farms. We are delighted to partner with Grassland Agro and Teagasc on this innovative post-graduate programme and look forward to welcoming two new PhD students to our growing repertoire of agricultural research students at UCC.”
Professor Astrid Wingler, Head, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at UCC, commented: “We are delighted that Grassland Agro supports such an important area of agricultural research at UCC. Soil health is vital for sustained agricultural production, and the FutureSoils programme provides a unique opportunity for cross-disciplinary research within our School and the wider UCC Futures Sustainability strategy.”