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Farm Matters – The reduction of emissions in dairy beef production



ABP has released the third and final episode of its podcast series, Farm Matters. This time the focus is on the important topic of reducing carbon emissions in dairy beef production, and in particular the role that beef genetics can play in sustainability. Contributors to the podcast shared their knowledge and opinions of this area, these included: Dr Padraig French, Head of the Livestock Systems Department and Dairy Enterprise Leader at Teagasc; Dr Andrew Cromie, Geneticist and Technical Director at the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF); and Donal McCarthy, a dairy farmer from Clonakilty in County Cork.

Dr Padraig French discussed the work of ABP, Teagasc and the ICBF to determine the best possible genetics for the dairy beef herd, which will be beneficial to both the dairy herd and  to beef production, which is where a large proportion of calves from dairy cows are utilised. He talked about future trends in the industry and the need to produce cattle that will grow quickly on a grass based diet and reach a target carcass weight at a young age, in order to reduce its environmental impact. He also discussed the difficulties faced by Teagasc in collecting data on farms as a result of Covid-19.

Dr Andrew Cromie spoke further about the role of genetics in reducing emissions from dairy beef production. This includes identifying and examining cattle with a lower methane output, and how this will help Ireland to reach its ambitious emissions targets. He also spoke about how this work will benefit farmers and enable them to produce and sell cattle more quickly to producers.

Donal McCarthy discussed the benefits he has experienced in relation to better diary beef calves from improved sire choice in his diary herd. He also reinforced the importance the role of the dairy beef calf has in the dairy industry, and how every dairy farmer should place emphasis on the value of their calf.