President of the Irish Farmers Association Tim Cullinan has said farmers "have grave concerns" around plans to reduce carbon emissions and he has written to the Taoiseach highlighting the issue.

The Minister for the Environment will this week embark on a series of meetings with government colleagues to agree on sectoral targets for emissions reductions.

Specific targets which detail the cuts to be achieved have to be set by next month and will feed into the new Climate Action Plan.

Last year it was agreed that farm emissions will have to fall by between 22% and 30% to achieve Ireland's climate goals.

This latest round of meetings will decide on the specifics and the extent of the cut.

Mr Cullinan told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that a recent report by KPMG "clearly demonstrates" that reducing emissions by 30% will be a cost of almost €4bn to the sector or almost 58,000 jobs per annum.

He said farmers "fully realise the impact" and that emissions have to be reduced and "we all have to work on climate change".

"We are squaring this circle and already farmers have done quite a lot" and are following the measures that have been put forward by Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in particular, he said.

"But we need to find a balance here because you have climate change or your food production and you know we have to look at where the world is today compared to where it was even six months ago," he said.

Mr Cullinan said that he is very concerned about key points including the Government classifying biogenic methane as having "special characteristics" and what that means, regard for carbon leakage, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992 and the Paris Agreement in 2015, which clearly demonstrate the importance of food production.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

He said there are new methods of applying fertiliser ensuring that the ammonia is not escaping into the atmosphere.

"We have to look at where the science is out at the moment as well that a lot of research is being done where animals are grazing, bovines are grazing, there is trials now to demonstrate those animals produce anything up to 30% less methane and more recently the EU Commission have approved a feed additive, which in turn will also reduce the amount of emissions," Mr Cullinan said.

Earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency has said that urgent implementation of all climate plans and policies, plus further new measures, are needed for Ireland to meet the 51% emissions reduction target for 2030.

It said the challenge is particularly evident in agriculture, but all sectors need to do significantly more.