Kepak Farm showcase Tillage Sustainability in collaboration with Teagasc

The inaugural tillage farm walk focused on Kepak Farm’s own sustainability journey and included knowledge sharing on water quality, biodiversity, soil management and a Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) demo.

Kepak Farm hosted a Teagasc Signpost Farm walk which focused on the theme of ‘Maximising Slurry Organic Nitrogen Using In-Crop Application,’ programme on Thursday, 7th March.

Since 2021, Kepak has collaborated with the Teagasc sustainability programme and has introduced many of its “12 steps to reduce gaseous emissions” actions on the farm which is located near Dunboyne in Co Meath. The farm acts as a research centre for on-farm carbon sequestration measurements and showcases best-in-class science-based technologies.

During the farm walk, Kepak and Teagasc specialist advisors provided engaging discussions and hands-on demonstrations of how the farm supports sustainable practices without compromising on yield and profitability.

Topics discussed were:
•Kepak’s Signpost Journey – Farm Overview presented – Sam Myles, Kepak Farm Manager, and Conor O’Callaghan, Teagasc Tillage Farm Advisor.

• Water Quality and Biodiversity on Tillage Farms – Hugh Rooney, Teagasc Water Quality / ASSAP Advisor, and Rebecca Thomson, Kepak Group Sustainability Manager.

• Managing Organic Manures and their Benefits to Tillage Farms – Dr. Veronica Nyhan, Soils and Plant Nutrition Specialist / Teagasc Tillage Advisor.

• Live demonstration of slurry spreading to cereal crops using LESS (Low Emission Slurry Spreaders) systems with a display of the latest machinery and technology.

John Mahon, Teagasc Signpost Programme Advisor outlined the exampled potential that spreading organic fertilizer in Spring can have, “uniquely, here at Kepak Farm, organic cattle slurry spread on winter crops in the Spring has resulted in 10 times greater nitrogen use efficiency compared to Autumn applied. With nitrogen making up 70% of all GHG emissions on tillage farms, this has huge potential to be applied nationally”.

Kepak Head of Sustainability, Margaret Berry said: “We are delighted to showcase the sustainability initiatives we are taking here on Kepak Farm and use it as an opportunity to share knowledge with our wonderful supplier base. At Kepak we are committed to sustainable agriculture practices and believe that a partnership approach with organisations like Teagasc will help us reduce our carbon footprint and play a role in addressing the global challenge of climate change.”

Speaking at the event, Sam Myles, Kepak Farm Manager said: “There is a real commercial benefit of slurry spreading to cereal crops using LESS systems. Cattle slurry allows us to reduce our need for chemical fertiliser saving costs and helping the environment.”

Kepak Farm, located in Dunboyne, Co. Meath, is dedicated to hosting regular knowledge transfer sessions and was involved in sustainability-focused research projects with industry stakeholders such as Teagasc, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, University College Dublin, and Trinity College.

The Teagasc Signpost Programme is built on a network of Signpost Demonstration Farms. The wider programme is being made available to all farmers over time by providing enhanced advisory and training support to farmers to commit to, select and implement climate and sustainability actions that will be appropriate and impactful on their farms. Participating farmers will be given the opportunity to commit to taking action for their farms.

For more information, or to register online visit the relevant page on the Teagasc website here.

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