'Smart farms' save an average of €5,000 per year
A 'smarter' way of doing business, being piloted on a range of mixed farms, has highlighted savings of up to €15,700 a year that farmers can make by simply paying more attention to routine tasks and purchases.
The Smart Farming Programme, being promoted by the IFA's national environment and rural development committee, was first piloted in 2013 on six Wexford farms with various enterprises.
Last year it was extended to 30 farms strategically located across the country, from Donegal to Cork, Wexford to Meath, and this year it is planned to extend the scheme to hundreds of farms.
This initiative focuses on ways to reduce costs inside the farm gate through better resource management in eight key areas: feed, grassland, water, inputs, time management, soil fertility, machinery management and energy use.
Among the programme's key participants are Teagasc, the Fertilizer Association of Ireland, the EPA, and UCD.
The IFA's Tom Ryan said that average savings of €5,000 per farm were achieved in 2013 through initiatives being applied to feed, fertiliser, energy and waste on the farms.
"There were savings of €15,779 on one out of the 30 farms that participated last year, but that was exceptional.
"The average was closer to €7,120 per farm by doing the simple things better in areas where the farmers were not aware that economies were possible," said Mr Ryan.