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    Barriers and Enablers of Long-term Land Leasing: a Case Study of Northern Ireland
    (Wiley, 2023-08-06) Adenuga, Adewale Henry; Jack, Claire; McCarry, Ronan; Caskie, Paul; Economics
    Long-term land leasing offers a viable alternative to land ownership in relation to increasing efficiency of agricultural production, economies of scale, and delivering environmental improvements in terms of land management. However, with no significant tenanted sector in Northern Ireland, access to land via long-term land leasing is limited. This study analysed the barriers and enablers of long-term land leasing. To achieve our objective, we employed a mixed methods approach. The results show that the main barriers to long-term land leasing were environmental concern (around how the land will be managed), inheritance tax implications and the potential effect of long-term land leasing on future succession plans of the farm business. We also found that as much as 70 per cent of the farmers surveyed believe the inclusion of a ‘break clause’ and the introduction of income tax incentives will encourage the adoption of long-term land leasing, while 61 per cent of the farmers stated that the environmental management of the land will encourage long-term land leasing. The study concluded that any model designed to encourage long-term land leasing in Northern Ireland should include clauses which cover the environmental management of the land and break clauses. Income tax incentives for landowners could also be considered.
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    High-resolution assessment of riverbank erosion and stabilization techniques with associated water quality implications
    (Taylor & Francis, 2023-05-26) Hayes, E.; Higgins, Suzanne; Mullan, D.; Geris, J.; Environmental Protection
    Agriculture is a key contributor to poor water quality, but the sources of sediment and nutrient losses from agricultural catchments – including from riverbank erosion – are highly variable. Riverbank erosion is particularly difficult to quantify and control. Here, we developed a quick assessment approach to quantify riverbank erosion rates and associated sediment and nutrient loading rates into waterways using airborne LiDAR combined with field-collected data. We applied this approach and explored its relationships to water quality at four sites within the Blackwater catchment in Northern Ireland for two analysis periods. GIS LiDAR image differencing revealed that volume changes in riverbank elevation equated to average erosion rates which indicated spatial and temporal variability in erosion rates. Combining the erosion rates with in-situ riverbank bulk density and total extractable phosphorus content provided sediment and phosphorus loading rates. The relative differences between estimated erosion at the different sites corresponded well with in-stream suspended sediment variations, but patterns for total phosphorus concentrations were more complex. We conclude that the use of LiDAR combined with field data is an innovative means for riverbank erosion quantification. Furthermore, by using LiDAR-to-LiDAR analyses, the reductions in erosion, sediment, and phosphorus loading rates following riverbank stabilization techniques can be determined.
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    Consumer assessment, in Ireland and the United Kingdom, of the impact of the method of suspension of carcasses from dairy-origin bulls and steers, on the sensory characteristics of the longissimus muscle
    (Compuscript Ltd. on behalf of Teagasc, 2023-06-17) Moloney, A.P.; Chong, F.S.; Hagan, T.D.J.; Gordon, Alan W.; Methven, L.; O’Sullivan, M.G.; Farmer, Linda; Food Quality
    The objective was to compare the assessment of beef produced in Ireland from a 19-month bull or a 24-month steer dairy beef production system by consumers in Ireland (Cork) and the United Kingdom (Belfast and Reading). Carcass sides were suspended by the Achilles tendon or by the pelvic bone and 21-d aged longissimus muscle assessed using Meat Standards Australia protocols. Carcass weight and classification were similar for bulls and steers. Consumers in Belfast and Cork rated aroma liking, tenderness, juiciness, overall liking and the composite meat quality score (MQ4) similarly, but lower (P < 0.05) than consumers in Reading. Consumers in Belfast and Cork rated flavour liking similarly as did consumers in Cork and Reading, but consumers in Reading rated flavour liking higher (P < 0.05) than consumers in Belfast. Muscle from steers had higher scores for aroma liking, flavour liking, overall liking and MQ4 scores than bulls (P < 0.05). On average, pelvic suspension increased (P < 0.05) the scores for aroma liking and flavour liking compared with conventional suspension but increased (P < 0.05) tenderness, juiciness, overall liking and MQ4 scores only in bulls. Consumers in Reading rated striploin from the traditional Achilles tendon-suspended steers similarly to striploin from pelvic-suspended bulls (MQ4 score of 71.8 and 68.2, respectively). Beef from the latter system could replace the traditional steer beef in this market, thereby benefiting the beef producer and the environment.
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    Reducing the time-dependent climate impact of intensive agriculture with strategically positioned short rotation coppice willow
    (Elsevier, 2023-07-27) Livingstone, David; Smyth, Beatrice M.; Cassidy, Rachel; Murray, Simon T.; Lyons, Gary; Foley, Aoife M.; Johnston, Christopher
    In this study the implementation of a short rotation coppice willow system, planted as a riparian buffer in an intensive agricultural setting, to intercept and reduce nutrient losses, was investigated. The aim of the work was to assess how such a system could reduce the overall climate impact of an intensive agricultural setting. A life cycle assessment was carried out for a combined Irish dairy farm and willow buffer system considering the impact category, climate impact. The climate impact was considering using the time-dependent climate impact metric, with the results given in terms of the impact on the global surface temperature. The results were compared to an Irish dairy farm in which no willow was planted. Such a system has not previously been investigated in this way and this was the first time-dependent climate impact assessment of a willow plantation planted on pastureland. Geographic information systems software, was used to map areas particularly susceptible to agricultural run-off and suitable for willow planting, using the land bank of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute research farm in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, for the case study. The harvested willow was assumed to be combusted in a combined heat and power plant. By implementing the willow system the time-dependent climate impact of an Irish dairy farm could be reduced by 8% with only 3.7% of the land used for willow cultivation over a 101-year study period. The results also found an immediate reduction in climate impact following the implementation of the willow system. Total GHG emissions were reduced by 131 Mg CO2eq ha−1 over the study timeframe. The results can be more broadly applied to other agricultural sectors, such as arable farming where the climate impact savings of the willow system could be even higher.
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    Greenhouse gas and ammonia emission mitigation priorities for UK policy targets
    (Higher Education Press, 2023-05-06) Buckingham, Sarah; Topp, Cairistiona F. E.; Smith, Pete; Eory, Vera; Chadwick, David R.; Baxter, Christina K.; Cloy, Joanna M.; Connolly, Shaun; Cooledge, Emily C.; Cowan, Nicholas J.; Drewer, Julia; Duffy, Colm; Fox, Naomi J.; Jebari, Asma; Jenkins, Becky; Krol, Dominika J.; Marsden, Karina A.; McAuliffe, Graham A.; Morrisson, Steven; O'Flaherty, Vincent; Ramsey, Rachael; Richards, Karl G.; Roehe, Rainer; Smith, Jo; Smith, Kate; Takahashi, Taro; Thorman, Rachel E.; Williams, John; Wiltshire, Jeremy; Rees, Robert M.
    Agriculture is essential for providing food and maintaining food security while concurrently delivering multiple other ecosystem services. However, agricultural systems are generally a net source of greenhouse gases and ammonia. They, therefore, need to substantively contribute to climate change mitigation and net zero ambitions. It is widely acknowledged that there is a need to further reduce and mitigate emissions across sectors, including agriculture to address the climate emergency and emissions gap. This discussion paper outlines a collation of opinions from a range of experts within agricultural research and advisory roles following a greenhouse gas and ammonia emission mitigation workshop held in the UK in March 2022. The meeting identified the top mitigation priorities within the UK’s agricultural sector to achieve reductions in greenhouse gases and ammonia that are compatible with policy targets. In addition, experts provided an overview of what they believe are the key knowledge gaps, future opportunities and co-benefits to mitigation practices as well as indicating the potential barriers to uptake for mitigation scenarios discussed.