Farming under threat as soil fertility falls 40pc in 10 years
Ireland's fields have suffered a 40pc drop in fertility in just a decade, sparking concerns for the future of our world-renowned farming industry.
The worrying trend is to be highlighted in RTÉ's flagship science show, '10 Things to Know About', which will expose the little-known effects of modern farming practices on the nation's land, which has 213 different soil types.
A recent UK report estimated that our nearest neighbours only have 100 harvests left before soils become too degraded to grow crops. And Teagasc soil scientist Dr David Wall says there is concern about the rapid decline in Irish soil fertility.
"Without a balanced mix of essential nutrients in soil, agriculture, which is a big part of the national economy, would decline," said Dr Wall
"If nothing is done, we'll arrive back in the 1960s in terms of poor yields, poor quality crops, declining farm incomes and then it will affect the whole food economy."
'10 Things to Know About' will reveal how tests on 200,000 soil samples from around the country in 2016 showed just 11pc of soils were fertile.
This is a sharp fall from the 18pc of fertile land recorded in 2006.
"Our soil nutrient reserves are being mined over time," said Dr Wall.