background image
JULY 2019
Education
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
20
To do this, a long-term grassland experiment has been
established at the new land purchased adjacent to the
existing UCD Lyons Farm. "When the 50-acre site was
bought it coincided with the time that our positive results
were coming through from SMARTGRASS. Thankfully, we
have a visionary and supportive Head of School, Professor
Alexander Evans, who sees that a lot of the questions
we have to answer in agri-environmental science can't
be answered in a four-year period. This new land is now
dedicated to a long-term grassland experiment."
"It has been divided into three sward types replicated four
times: a high input ryegrass sward, a ryegrass and white
clover sward; and our best performing six-species mix.
That land has been prepared and sown with the various
sward types and each will be grazed under a calf to beef
system."
The site also slopes in one direction and, because of this
and the soil type, most of the water is surface or shallow
sub-surface moving so there is potential to gather water
and monitor water quality from each sward type. "The
drains have been installed and we are currently seeking
funding for the equipment to allow us monitor water
quality."
Funding lies at the heart of all of this progress and there
has been much success here. With the SMARTGRASS
project finishing up in 2017, UCD is now in the middle of
a `second phase' project called SMARTSWARD together
with their partners Massey University in New Zealand,
Devenish Nutrition, Slaney Foods, TU Dublin and AFBI.
SMARTSWARD, co-lead by Boland and Sheridan, is the
next step. "We secured funding from DAFM in October
2018 and this project will run for four years."
However, while all of these projects will bring important
research to the fore, it is the long-term allocation of
ground to the grassland experiment that will ensure
real progress: "This allows us to address questions
around things like the long-term sustainability of
this type of system: the financial, environmental and
social sustainability. It will facilitate a much greater
understanding, particularly around areas like soil carbon
sequestration.
"We have now been accepted as one of sites in the
Global Farm Platform, which are a network of sites
globally to address some of the big challenges around
ruminant production water, soil, biodiversity, GHG
emissions."
HIGHLIGHT FINDINGS FROM THE
SMARTGRASS PROJECT
Multispecies swards getting 90kg N/ha have the potential
to outyield perennial ryegrass swards getting 250 kg N/
ha.
Over three years, dry matter yield from multispecies
swards was more stable than that obtained from perenni-
al ryegrass swards.
Greater diversity and abundance of key invertebrate
groups including earthworms, was found within multi-
species versus perennial ryegrass monocultures.
Lambs finished approx. two weeks earlier when fed on
multispecies versus perennial ryegrass swards.
Lambs fed on multispecies swards had lower worm
burdens and required less anthelmintic than those fed on
perennial ryegrass swards.
Estimated nitrous oxide emissions per tonne of dry mat-
ter produced from the lower input multispecies swards
were approximately 10% those from high input ryegrass
monocultures.
When made under good weather conditions, silage from
multispecies swards is as good as that made from peren-
nial ryegrass swards.
Time
Long term grassland platform
Soil fertility
Grazing animal
Health & Performance
Smart agriculture
Carbon sequestrian
Food quality
Profitability
Water quality
Greenhouse gas emmsions
Pasture resilience
Biodiversity
Who can apply?
The scheme is available to:
1. SMEs (including farmers) and Small Midcaps
2. Applicants that meet the scheme criteria
Key features of the Scheme
100,000 up to 3 million for eligible applicants
50,000 up to 3 million for eligible applicants in the Primary Agriculture sector
Initial max loan interest rate of 4.5% for loans up to 249,999 and 3.5% for loans equal
or greater than 250,000. Variable interest rates are subject to change
Term ranging from 8 years to 10 years
Loans unsecured up to 500,000
Optional interest-only repayments provided at the start of the loans
Loans can be used for
Long-term investment in tangible or
intangible assets
For further queries on the Future Growth Loan Scheme and assistance with the Eligibility Form,
please contact applications@fgls.sbci.gov.ie or call 1800 804482
Future Growth Loan Scheme
How do I apply for the scheme?
Complete the Eligibility Form at
www.sbci.gov.ie
and return to the SBCI by email/post
The SBCI will assess the application and determine if you are eligible/not eligible
Eligible applicants will be provided with an Eligibility Reference Number
Provide the Eligibility Reference Number - along with your updated Business Plan for loans of 250,000 or
more - to your preferred finance provider when completing the loan application form
The SBCI is currently finalising its FGLS partners. More info will be published
on
www.sbci.gov.ie
as soon as they are available
8554_SBCI_A4+Logo_Advert.indd 1
08/05/2019 15:07
IFM Page 197x279.indd 1
27/05/2019 11:09