Will Irish Farming be sacrificed at the altar of Climate Change?


Active member
May 30, 2004
Farming worldwide needs to change, not just in Ireland.
Besides Carbon, the natural cycles of Nitrogen, Phosphorous are completely out of kilter due to human intervention.
Nitrogen makes up 80% of the atmosphere and is an inert gas. There was a natural cycle whereby Nitrogen was ‘fixed’ by plants, notably pulses & legumes. The invention of artificial fertilizer changed that. Synthetic fertilizer draws Nitrogen from the air so it can be spread on fields and feed the crops. A huge amount of Nitrogen is being extracted this way and converted to ammonia. More than 120m tons per annum. The process requires a LOT of energy. Only a relatively small amount of the nitrogen that has been fixed this way is absorbed by the crops and enters the food chain. The remainder runs off into watercourses and the sea causing algal blooms and fish kills. As a result Nitrogen is being converted from being an inert gas to an active element and is impacting the natural cycles.
So when the cattle are out eating the lush grass, they are really indirectly consuming energy that was invested.
Since there is no meaningful Carbon Tax, there is no economic signal to highlight the true cost of the energy being used in agriculture.
The terrible thing is that we appear to be trapped in this polluting cycle as current farm practice is dependent on these artificial inputs to maintain yields. The only way out is to change consumption patterns.
At present the EU provides subsidies for industrial food production of meat, dairy and cereal crops. To my knowledge there are no direct subsidies for vegetable & fruit growers.

Global Nitrogen: Cycling out of Control
The nitrogen cycle
Earth's nine life-support systems: Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles
Planetary boundaries - Wikipedia
Ecology and Society: Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity
Energy and the food system

kerdasi amaq

Well-known member
Aug 24, 2009
Increasing CO2 is good for farming:



Well-known member
Feb 27, 2010

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