BDGP cows are 20pc more 'carbon efficient'

File photo
File photo
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a challenge the suckler sector can rise to, says the ICBF's Dr Andrew Cromie.

"We are best in class in terms of our ability to produce very high-quality beef from an industry with very tight controls, scrutiny and adherence to protocols and therefore produce beef in a very carbon-efficient way," he said.

"There must be an opportunity to promote that further in the future."

Dr Cromie explained that the BDGP was launched in 2015 with an objective of taking the best new technology (genomics in the context of breeding) and applying it to help support a crucial indigenous industry - simultaneously addressing global challenges around greenhouse gases and food security.

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Thee ICBF performance test station in Tully is now the largest site globally measuring methane data directly on beef cattle.

Research in Tully using green feed systems directly measures the methane output of our suckler beef animals.

Early results from work undertaken by ICBF and Teagasc has validated the initial hypothesis within the BDGP that high- replacement index animals have a lower methane output/animal than lower-replacement index animals.

Indeed, the initial results indicate up to a 20pc difference in total methane output.

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"That's a hugely significant and positive story addressing global challenges regarding methane output from animal agriculture," Dr Cromie said.

"There is very clear evidence that through the data we are collecting in BDGP supported by the data in Tully we can see clearly that suckler farmers have an opportunity to breed an even more carbon- efficient cow."

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