Beef Plan Movement (BPM) has announced that it will not accept any form of culling or limitation of the Irish herd of suckler cows, while allowing all other sectors to continue in what the organization calls “unrestricted” fashion.
The group responded to the Strategic Plan for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is now open for public consultation.
The plan outlines a new “Suckler Carbon Efficiency Program”, which is to build on the Beef Data and Genomics Program (BDGP) and the Beef Environmental Efficiency Program (BEEP) to improve the sustainability of suckler cow herds by improving the “genetic earnings” . .
The program consists of two actions – “A” and “B”, which are carried out on a five-year contract basis. The two measures run in parallel and a farmer can only participate in one or the other.
Dimension A will be for farmers who were in the BDGP on June 1, 2021 while Dimension B for farmers who were not or not at all in the BDGP at this point in time.
Emmanuel Ó Deá, a member of the BPM Maternity Committee, said:
“We must stop denigrating the beef sector, and naturally raised cattle in particular.
“There were over a million suckler cows in Ireland in 2011 at a time when agricultural emissions were below our 2030 target.
“Since then, the suckler cow herd has decreased by 15% and our agricultural emissions have escalated.”
Beef Plan Movement has stated that it has not participated in any consultation on the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).
She has expressed her intention to find out which agricultural organizations were involved in drawing up the plan and why “they felt it was appropriate to continue stigmatizing the suckler cow sector”.
BPM Vice-Chairman John Moloney said the association has campaigned with the government on many issues related to cattle breeding and tabled several proposals on areas from climate to CAP reform.
Moloney said: “However, we find it disappointing that the government has not consulted with Ireland’s only dedicated beef group on this matter.
“Our herd of suckler cows just doesn’t make sense in our opinion.
“The simple fact is that with a million suckler cows in the country in 2011, we were below our 2030 emissions targets.
“It is the move away from vacuuming that is driving our national emissions up. The suckler cow herd is essential to the production of quality herd for our herd of cattle, ”he added.
According to Moloney, less than 7% of dairy farming’s EBI is related to carcass traits, even though over 70% of calves are destined for beef production.
He added: “We do not believe that the number of dairy cows should be limited as this detracts from the real problem of stocking density. Each company should be judged on its own merits and intensity.
“As a rule, mother breeding farms have a low stocking density and a low use of inputs, which is why it makes little ecological sense to target the national suckler cow herd.
“Methane is a greenhouse gas [GHG] and contributes to global warming. The problem we have is that the fact that methane from livestock is recycled carbon is not recognized, ”he added.
“Grass strips carbon from both agriculture and industry and converts it into meat, milk, organic fertilizers, and so on.
“We want this process to be recognized right now. Methane from livestock is treated no differently than CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, ”he concluded.