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Tuesday 27 June 2017

Storms and pests biggest threat to dairy

Young Tim Brennan from Dungarvan , Co Kilkenny seen here with his dog bringing the130 cows in for the milking. Photo: Roger Jones.
Young Tim Brennan from Dungarvan , Co Kilkenny seen here with his dog bringing the130 cows in for the milking. Photo: Roger Jones.
Professor Thia Hennessy of Chair of Agri-Food Economics at Cork University Business School and Head of the Department of Food Business and Development UCC. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Extreme weather, the rise of new diseases and insect blight are among the biggest threats that climate change poses to the dairy sector, a new study has revealed.

The first of its kind research project, sponsored by Safefood, surveyed dairy industry stakeholders to determine their level of awareness of the potential impacts climate change could create.

Speaking at an industry conference in Dublin yesterday, Trevor Donnellan, Teagasc researcher, said the study confirmed that climate change presents both opportunities and threats for dairy.

"The threats identified in the survey included, extreme weather events, the emergence of new diseases and pests."

"By contrast the development of unfavourable climate conditions in some of the world's key milk producing countries could offer an advantage to the Irish dairy sector, since the Irish climate is likely to be less adversely affected," he said.

One of the major recommendations of the research is that more planning is required to consider how to deal with extreme weather events.

Prof Thia Hennessy, UCC department of food business and lead researcher said dairy stakeholders demonstrated "a high level of awareness" of climate change and commitment to "collective action" on any available opportunities.

Dr James McIntosh, of Safefood, the food safety promotion board, welcomed the study and the role it will play in improving public health.

"Climate change has the potential to impact on almost every aspect of food production and supply and it's important for us to understand how the provision of safe food and the promotion of good food safety practices across the food chain will be affected, particularly in larger agri-food sectors such as the dairy industry," he said.

The conference also highlighted concerns in getting technology from the lab to the farm as not all farmers are eager to embrace digital developments.


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