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Institute and ReNu2Farm team to participate in Teagasc DairyBEEF2019 Open Day

13/05/2019

Institute and ReNu2Farm team to participate in Teagasc DairyBEEF2019 Open DayThe ReNu2Farm team, comprising Irish partners from UL, IT Carlow, Cork IT and Teagasc, is to participate in the Teagasc DairyBEEF2019 Open Day on 21st May in Johnstown Castle, Wexford and demonstrate its latest field trials to scientists, farmers, agronomic advisers and the wider public.

ReNu2Farm is a major, €3.7million North-West Interreg part-funded collaboration comprising 10 partners from higher education organisations, research institutes and industry working to address the global threat posed to industrial agriculture by the vast depletion of the essential macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N, P, K), without which plants cannot survive. The ReNu2Farm project aims to increase recycling rates of these plant nutrients.

As part of the Teagasc DairyBEEF2019 Open Day, the ReNu2Farm partners - including Dr. Achim Schmalenberger from UL in collaboration with Dr. Patrick Forrestal of Teagasc Johnstown Castle - will demonstrate their latest grassland field trials. The team will highlight how phosphorus fertilisers made from rock phosphate that is mined outside Europe can be replaced.

ReNu2Farm is a joint collaboration of Irish researchers. IT Carlow’s role in the project, under the leadership of Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte, involves assessing the ecological impact of the RDFs by analysing nematode, bacterial and fungal communities in the project field trials, and carrying out ecotoxicological analyses on the fertilisers in controlled bioassay single nematode species experiments and in microcosms.

The CIT team, led by Dr. Niamh Power, will undertake stakeholder engagement through farmer surveys to identify the needs of farmers in terms of fertiliser properties and their willingness to accept RDFs from various sources. They will also undertake mapping of the nutrient demand on a regional level to determine the overall demand of NPK.

The team in Teagasc, led by Dr Patrick Forrestal, are undertaking Irish field trials within the project, where the agronomical value of the RDFs will be investigated, as well as their ecological impact. 

The team at UL, led by Dr Achim Schmalenberger, will investigate how soil microbes can contribute to plant phosphorus supply and how this is affected by the use of RDF products in comparison to conventional phosphate fertiliser.

Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte of the Department of Science and Health and enviroCORE in IT Carlow said, “This research builds on the sustainability thematic pillar of enviroCORE and aims at increasing recycling rates of important soil plant nutrients that are currently depleting at a level threatening global food security, and turning three of the largest waste streams, sewage sludge, food waste, and manure, into valuable resources for sustainability.  It also aims at doing this by placing the farming community in the centre of the work, as manifested by the IFA being a project associate partner.  The work of IT Carlow is to prove the environmental compatibility of RDFs and offer this guarantee to farmers across NW Europe, and thus held to increase their willingness to accept this innovation.”

More information is available at #dairybeef, #ReNu2Farm and the ReNuFarm website.