Soil temperatures and grass growth were continued to be monitored. Soil temperatures were up to 13/14°C on all three farms between the 10th – 20th June. However, between the 24th and 28th of June temperatures on all 3 farms were up to 15-16°C, which is consistent with the increase in air temperatures. Received results back from FBA which will be statistically analysed along with all other results. Soil and herbage samples were taken and sent to FBA for SR3 and Mineral trace scan and feed analysis. Prof Charles Spillane and Dr Galina Brychkova visited all three farm plots on Monday 17th June. On advisement a weed assessment was carried out on Farm A and Farm C as well as a red clover : ryegrass % was calculated and both results will be analysed. On Thursday all 3 farm plots were mown and the grass was gathered and weighed to compare digestate v’s chemical fertilizer plots. There was exponential differences with digestate fertilized showing much higher yields. Another round of digestate and chemical fertilizer will be applied next week.
Soil temperatures and grass growth were continued to be monitored. Soil temperatures are continuing were up to 13/14°C on all three farms between the 20th and 31st of May. However, between the 4th and 8th of June temperatures on all 3 farms dropped by a degree, which corresponds to lower air temperatures. Results are still pending on samples sent on the 13th May. Another batch of samples was taken on Thursday 6th June. Soil and herbage samples were taken and sent to FBA for SR3 and Mineral trace scan and feed analysis. A separate batch of soil and herbage samples were taken and sent to JHG for microbiological and chemical soil analysis as well as hormonal analysis on the herbage. On Thursday last (30th May), I was invited to attend with Tom a demonstration at BHSL in Limerick which operates a Fluridised Bed Combustion system to convert the untreated poultry manure into energy for heating, cooling and electricity generation to meet the energy needs of the farms. The demonstration was by Jack O’Connor, one of the founding members of BHSL. Another set of drone pictures were taken on all three farms to see the progress of regrowth on all plots.
Bird’s Eye View
The past two weeks I continued to monitor the soil plots in terms of temperature and grass growth. On Monday, soil temperatures were taken and dropped to an average of approximately 9.9 ºC. Drone pictures were taken on all three farms to fully visualize the effect of the digestate on grass growth. Soil samples and herbage samples were taken and sent to FBA laboratories for SR3 and Feed analysis. A separate batch of soil samples was sent to JHG Analytical services for microbiological analysis. I will be visiting JHG laboratories for a meeting on soil analysis next week. The grass on 2 of the farms will also be cut next week with a mower as the grass cover is gone too high. The second round of chemical fertilizer will be applied after grass has been cut in the next two weeks.
Chemical Fertilizer Application
The past two weeks I continued on preparing the trial plots for digestate and fertilizer application. Soil temperatures were closely monitored over the past two weeks. On Monday, soil temperatures were taken and dropped to an average of approximately 9.9 ºC. Results from initial soil sample that were taken and sent to JHG Laboratories for microbiological analysis were returned and will be statistically analysed along with further results to come. Chemical fertilizer was applied to all three farms using a rotary lawn spreader. Both the type and quantity of chemical fertilizer was determined by the Nutrient Management plan I created for each farm. Next week soil temperatures will be continued to be monitored and samples for both soil and herbage will be taken. I will be visiting JHG laboratories for a meeting on soil analysis and I hope to attend a discussion group run by Teagasc on monitoring grass growth. I hope to attend a seminar in IT Tralee on Biogas application in Irish agriculture and the future of small-scale AD digesters on Irish farms on Wednesday.
The past two weeks I continued on preparing the trial plots for digestate and fertilizer application. Soil temperatures were closely monitored over the past two weeks. On Friday, soil temperatures were taken and averaged at approximately 11 ºC. Soil samples were taken and sent to JHG Laboratories for microbiological analysis. Digestate was applied to all three farms. Digestate was applied by trailing shoe at 4km/hr at a rate of 3500 gallons/ha.
Nutrient Management Planning and Groundwater Vulnerability
This week I continued training on devising nutrient management plans (NMP) for TGL Consulting clients and I also trained on carrying out groundwater vulnerability maps from GSI.ie. I have now learned how to carry out NMP and assess the LPIS information and I am continuing to learn how to detail the report for the farmers to advise them on both organic and chemical fertilizer applications. On Tuesday, I presented via skype my research proposal on using organic fertilizers as a substitute for inorganic to improve the efficiency in nitrogen use and uptake and to impact the carbon footprint. I will continue next week on my research proposal and also on NMP’s and groundwater vulnerability maps. I am also continuing to take herbage samples each week to freeze, so they can be analysed down the line if necessary. Each week I am also monitoring soil temperature, so I will be able to depict the most suitable time for the digestate to be applied and currently soil temperatures are averaging at 6.5ºC.
Precise Application of Fertilizers
This week I received three days training on devising nutrient management plans (NMP) for TGL Consulting clients. I received training from one of the consultants who showed me how to input the client information, animal information, soil analysis and LPIS information. I have now learned how to carry out NMP and assess the LPIS information and I am continuing to learn how to detail the report for the farmers to advise them on both organic and chemical fertilizer applications. On Wednesday I attended a conference in Teagasc Moorepark on the precise application of fertilizers. It was a fantastic insight into both the environmental and practical aspect of fertilizer application and how the NMP online system has been a key component in assisting in this.
I took initial soil samples on Saturday the 16th and on Monday, I took the initial herbage analysis of two of the farms. I met with Conor Butler of FBA laboratories in Waterford to discuss the project and to gain feedback. I also discussed with Conor the sample analysis to be carried out. FBA laboratories will be carrying out both soil and herbage analysis, and on Wednesday I received the grass feed analysis from FBA and I anticipate the minor trace elements and soil analysis will be received possibly next week. I discussed with John Gough of JHG Analytical the schedule for the microbiological testing of the samples and worked out a schedule with him.
Plan for Following Week:
I will take herbage samples from each farm on Monday and store in freezer from advisement from Conor Butler. I will meet with Tom to receive training on carrying out Nutrient Management Plans. I hope to attend a conference in Teagasc Moorepark on Wednesday 27th on good fertilizer practices. I aim to take soil samples also on Wednesday morning to send to JHG Analytical for initial microbiological analysis. I will submit an updated draft of my research proposal to both Charles and Galina.
Received feedback from Galine on draft of research proposal. Will aim to submit an updated draft to both Charles and Galina next Tuesday. I met with all three participating farmers this week and have established each plot. Discussed with Tom schedule for taking the initial samples of both soil and herbage. I anticipate taking the initial samples tomorrow (Saturday 16th), if not it will be Monday. I learnt from Tom how to take the soil samples and I communicated with FBA and JHG analytical the analysis to be performed by each.
Plan for Following Week:
Will meet FBA laboratories on Monday. I will take initial soil samples tomorrow and I hope to take initial herbage samples on Monday and take them to FBA laboratories for analysis. I will send soil samples for microbiological analysis to JHG analytical on Wednesday.
This week entailed predominantly planning for the coming week. I plan to meet the farmers that will be involved in the project and I will establish each plot on each individual farm. Once the plots are established I will proceed in starting the initial sampling and analysis. I will communicate with Tom the digestate data and will proceed on the statistical analysis on such. I will further work on the research proposal on advisement and comments from Galina. Sampling parameters were agreed upon in conjunction with both Tom and Galina.