Week 5

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.

Week 4

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.

Week 3

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.

Week 2

This week I communicated with Galina in a skype meeting with regards to the experimental design of the project. We discussed the parameters that were necessary to assess. Galina assisted in drawing up a field plot design. Participated in a meeting with Charles, Galina and the class with regards to the MSc Agribioscience programme.

I continued with the literature review – covered the final part on the current regulation in Ireland on fertilizers and covered soil nutrient deprivation along with anaerobic digestion process and set out a plan for the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers. I communicated with Galina with regards to training next week for sample analysis. Communicated with Charles, Galina and Tom with regards the experimental design. Updated the field plot design to incorporate the size of the trailing shoe spreader that will be used for the project. I designed a survey to assess from different farmers the amount of both digestate and chemical fertilizer that was used in the previous year and also the soil types of each farm.P