Farm Zero C is a collaboration between BiOrbic, Carbery and others to address the challenge of carbon neutral farming.
This presents a holistic view of the farm to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the health and resilience of the farm.
Developing pioneering projects like this is part of working to safeguard their farmer suppliers’ future.
A world first for agriculture, BiOrbic, Carbery and their collaborators have undertaken an interdisciplinary programme of work, targeting numerous areas.
Sourcing energy through renewable means where possible to reduce the farm’s reliance on carbon emitting fossil fuels.
SOIL and GRASSLAND
Capturing carbon within the soil by planting multi-species swards. This allows for reduced use of fertiliser.
ANIMAL DIET AND BREEDING
Trialling different types of diet that change animal digestion, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emitted through belching.
Maintaining biodiversity on the farm, taking advantage of ecosystem services for less reliance on pesticides and fertiliser.
Thorough analysis of plant and animal life-cycles on the farm to understand overall carbon emissions.
Videos and Updates
This week we spoke with Cian White, a PhD student and ecologist at Trinity College Dublin who is at Shinagh Farm in West Cork to advance work under the Biodiversity pillar of Farm Zero C.
This week we talk to Luis Alejandro Vergara, a PhD researcher with University College Dublin who is currently based on Shinagh Farm, carrying out life cycle assessment as part of the project. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a method for calculating the environmental impact of a product or service.
Grass bio-refining is one of the pillars of our project to create a carbon neutral dairy farm. Through biorefining, perennial ryegrass is fractionated into a variety of new products in a process which improves the protein efficiency, value and sustainability of our grasslands. In 2019, Biorefinery Glas ran a trial with Carbery, James Gaffey of Grassa! and Barryroe Co-op in West Cork. The video of this trial gives some good detail on what is involved with biorefining and how it can contribute to sustainable dairy farming.
Farm Zero C update: This week, the multi species swards planted at Shinagh Farm had progressed enough to allow the cows in to have their first taste. No complaints from the diners, all plates were cleared, as you can see below! Multispecies swards have the potential to enhance biodiversity on the farm and significantly reduce nitrogen inputs so it will be very interesting to see how this work area evolves. In the meantime, member of the project team Cian White, PhD researcher from Trinity College Dublin is currently on site mapping the biodiversity of Shinagh Farm. PhD researcher at University College Dublin Luis Alejandro Vergara arrives next week to perform a dynamic life cycle assessment at Shinagh. We’ll have more detail from both on their activities next week.