Sucklers not the problem with GHGs

Sucklers blamed in the wrong?
Sucklers blamed in the wrong?

IRISH cattle, sheep and tillage enterprises should not be made scapegoats of in terms of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) figures, on the basis that the emissions from such enterprises are only a fraction of what is produced on intensive dairy farms, it has been claimed.

President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), Patrick Kent, said that the latest data released in last week’s Teagasc Sustainability report ‘had blown apart’ the narrative that suckler and beef farmers ‘were the problem’ on climate change.

“The suckler herd is clearly not the problem when cattle farming systems produce less than half the emissions of intensive dairy farming systems per hectare.

“This revelation means that where a hectare of land is switched from sucklers to intensive dairy, GHG emissions double. We have been arguing for a long time that cattle and sheep farmers should not be the scapegoats for our climate change challenges,” said Patrick Kent.

He said that while cattle, sheep and tillage systems gave rise to between 2.0 and 4.2 tonnes of CO2 per hectare, the figure for intensive dairy farms was 8.5 tonnes – Mr. Kent added that the figures also called into question the long-standing advice to cattle and sheep farmers to intensify and expand output.

He said that for too long, there has been a veil of silence over the outrageous blame game directed at extensive cattle and sheep farmers, claiming that statistics were massaged to make it look like suckler farming in particular had to carry the burden of adjustment [emissions].

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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