Cutting our carbon hoofprint
The Beef Data and Genomics Programme will be a key part of Irish agriculture's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, report Clare Taylor and Bridget Farrell
The rollout of training begins this month for farmers who have signed up to the six-year commitment of the €300m Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).
Around 26,500 farmers are participating in the BDGP, with their combined herds coming to 542,000 cows - 41pc of the suckler herds in the country, and over half of the suckler cows.
Every farmer will receive an invitation two weeks prior to the Teagasc courses which are obligatory before October 31, 2016 for participating farmers. Participants will be paid €166 on the day of attendance, provided they have stayed the whole day.
Pearse Kelly, head of Drystock Knowledge Transfer Department at Teagasc, said it is important for farmers to attend. "There will be no more than two, maximum three opportunities to attend a course in each general area," he said.
The rationale underpinning the BDGP, and the basis for European co-funding of €168m for this programme, is the potential for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agricultural sector.
So, how do the figures stack up, and what impacts can be expected on the emissions front?
To take a best case scenario, the Agriculture Department has stated that the potential GHG reduction is around 86,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually by 2020.
This figure is based on 4.4pc of marginal abatement potential from the suckler herd.