Farm Waste Prevention Shows Cost and Environmental Savings for Farmers

Date released: Aug 15 2008

A new booklet to help farmers cut costs and improve their environmental performance will be launched tomorrow at the Tydavnet show in Co Monaghan.  View booklet Farming the Environment.

The Farming the Environment booklet is part of an ongoing project that Monaghan and Longford County Councils have been working on with farmers. Over the past two years they have identified opportunities for more efficient use of farm inputs, energy and water.   The booklet brings together case studies and tips for preventing waste and making savings on energy and water costs.    

 “The key message of the booklet is that if we don’t create waste in the first place we won’t have to pay the financial and environmental costs of dealing with it subsequently”,

said Gerry Byrne, EPA Programme Manager.

 He added:

“As the financial climate for the agri-business looks more challenging, farmers can use the tips in this booklet to ensure that they are getting the best value for money spent on farm inputs, water and energy.  Small innovations in farm practice can lead to real savings in cost and improvements in environmental performance”.


 The following are some of the savings demonstrated by farmers working with the Councils in the Local Authority Prevention Demonstration (LAPD) Programme:

  1. A dairy farmer changed from using plastic bag fed meal to bulk delivery.  This change resulted in a cost saving of €1,800 and almost a quarter of a tonne of plastic bags in the first year.
  2. A pig farmer is saving €776 annually on his farm’s energy costs by changing to energy efficient lighting. 
  3. A beef farmer cut his waste collection charges by 76% by recycling instead of landfilling.
  4. A pig farmer is installing rainwater storage tanks that will save him €37,000 per year.  At current water charges levels these will pay for themselves in under three years.

According to a survey carried out by Monaghan Council Council in 2007, 40% of farmers who have developed new environmental practices have done so to reduce costs.  The booklet includes checklists on how to manage waste, water and energy and a section on benchmarks that will show farmers how well they are performing against the best in their sector. 

The booklet also provides advice on how farmers can best deal with hazardous wastes such as batteries, oils and fluorescent tubes, but also more farm specific wastes such as empty and unused chemical containers, veterinary waste, pesticides and fertilisers. 

Speaking at the launch Councillor Matt Carty, Monaghan County Mayor said:

“I hope that the information in this booklet will assist farmers in their work and just as importantly help reduce consumption and thereby save money in the running of farms.”


The Mayor of Longford, Sean Farrell said:

“This document aims to educate and create awareness of how farmers can get the best value from the resources they buy and help to protect the environment, and I wish them every success with it.”


This project forms part of the LAPD programme, funded by the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme. 

Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Notes for Editors
Further information on the farmers referred to in points 1 to 4 above:

Point 1
This farmer works a 123 acre dairy farm and the change didn’t involve extra costs for installing silos as these were already in place.  The change was motivated by the need to prevent waste, to find an easier system, and to capitalize on potential savings of €35 per tonne of feed for bulk delivery.  There are savings of €35 per tonne to be made in changing from bag to bulk feed, €1800 per year in savings in the costs of feed, and a saving of 244 kg of plastic bags per year too. 

Point 2
The farm is an integrated pig unit.  The farm has increased from 400 sows in 2007 to 600 sows today. With the increase in sows additional farm buildings have recently been constructed.

Point 3
A small beef farmer (88acres) was landfilling 100% of farm and farmhouse non-organic waste.  Through working with the Longford LAPD team, he found he was able to recycle over 80% of this waste.  His waste collection charge dropped from €250 per year to €60 per year.
He found an outlet for fertilizer bags, which are now given to a neighbour for reuse.

Point 4
A Longford pig farmer is installing two 72,000 litre rain water storage tanks at a cost of €110,000. His yearly savings are projected to be €37,000 so the system will have paid for itself in just under three years.