Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 18 November, 2004
Written Answers. - Food Production.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
137. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if her attention has been drawn to the recent development of sensors to calculate exactly the quantity of nitrogen a crop needs; and if she will progress the use of such sensors here. [29614/04]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan: I am aware of the recent developments mentioned and of the pioneering methods used to calculate the quantity of nitrogen needed for crop production. Teagasc is responsible for monitoring such developments and carrying out its own research in this area. Current Teagasc fertiliser recommendations based on soil analysis and cropping history set out to protect the environment as well as maximising crop returns. However, it is conscious of the environmental benefits that would accrue from a more site-specific matching of fertiliser appli cation to crop needs. Teagasc, therefore, carefully monitors all new developments that might help to achieve this aim. The N sensor, which predicts nitrogen requirement from foliage colour, is one such emerging technology. However, several other soil and weather factors also affect colour, so some further fine tuning of the system is needed. I am confident that much progress will be made in bringing more precise site-specific fertiliser application to the market-place over the next five years, but it is evident that further research and development is needed before a system is established that could be recommended for widespread adoption by farmers.
Dáil Éireann 592 Written Answers. Food Production.