NUI Galway project to highlight environmental spin-off from lime usage

Lime spreading

NUI Galway are to link up with Teagasc in a close-on €250,000 research project aimed at highlighting the environmental importance of not letting soils turn too acidic.

The project – funded by the Dept. of Agriculture – will seek to provide ‘verifiable data’, showing the importance of liming land in helping to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

The most potent greenhouse gas emission from farmland is nitrous oxide (N2O) – the more acidic the soil is, the greater the levels of nitrous oxide emitted.

According to the Dept. of Agriculture, the study is expected to provide ‘verifiable estimates’ of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that could be achieved by correcting soil pH with the application of lime.

This will allow Ireland to use the lime application and consequent pH adustment as a mitigation measure within the within the Irish greenhouse gas emission inventory.

“The application of lime represents a win-win solution for farmers to both improve agronomic yields and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the Dept. of Agriculture state.

The research project will evaluate the effects of soil pH on N2O emission as well as seeking to understand the biogeochemical mechanism affected by the soil pH.

It will also seek to provide data on ‘country specific’ emission factors along with providing all the resultant information to all interested parties.

A figure of €244,999 has been provided for the project as part of an overall Dept. of Agriculture allocation of €1.8m for a number of international research strategies to be undertaken over the coming months.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.