Q&A: Minister Michael Creed
BDGP: October 31 closing date for carbon navigator

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has reminded farmers participating in the BDGP scheme of the compliance requirement to complete a carbon navigator with the help of an advisor before the October 31 deadline.

The carbon navigator quantifies environmental gains that can be made on each applicant’s farm. 

It allows a farmer to look at changes they can make on the farm in areas such as the length of the grazing season or their average calving rate, and what that change would mean in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and profitability.

Measuring the carbon footprint of each BDGP herd is key to improving efficiency, and the BDGP objective to place Ireland right at the forefront of climate-friendly agriculture, and add to the already successful green image of our beef production.

What is a carbon navigator?

It is an online farm management package developed by Bord Bia and Teagasc. It quantifies the environmental gains that can be made on each applicant’s farm.

It has been developed to promote uptake of carbon- efficient farming practices and demonstrates, for each scheme participant, the level of emissions at farm level, while also setting indicative targets for reducing them.

How will this be done?

Each BDGP participant must complete the Carbon navigator by October 31 this year. The first completion of the carbon navigator must be undertaken in conjunction with an approved adviser. There is no farmer cost to completing this, as the cost is covered separately and advisers are paid directly by the department.

Farmers participating in the BDGP programme should now make contact with a qualified adviser who will then assist them with their carbon navigator for 2016.

Approved advisers have completed a specific training course for this.

The list of qualified advisers is available for participants on the Department of Agriculture website at www.agriculture.gov.ie/beefschemes in a document entitled Advisers Qualified to Complete Carbon Navigators.

Once a farmer has contacted a trained adviser from the approved list, that adviser will assist the farmer.

What information is required?

In 2016, each participant must provide details that highlight how a farm’s greenhouse-gas emissions can be reduced. The areas covered are length of the grazing season, age at first calving, calving interval, animal weight gain, nitrogen efficiency, and slurry management.

The report compares farm performance with other similar farms, and highlights the potential impact on income and greenhouse gas emissions of reaching the targets set.

For example, by turning animals out to grass two weeks earlier in spring, a farmer will save on feed costs and see an increase in animal performance, by getting more grass into the diet.

Following on from initial completion in 2016, the applicants must then submit data annually to allow for an update of the carbon navigator.

This data will be submitted via survey forms issued by the ICBF to each applicant on an annual basis.

Will I receive notification, like I did for the training course, of when I am to meet my adviser to complete the carbon navigator?

No, the onus is on the applicant to contact an approved adviser to make an appointment to complete the carbon navigator.

You are encouraged to do this as soon as possible.

If you have any further queries regarding the completion of the carbon navigator, then you should contact the beef schemes section of the department at 076 1064 423.


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