The beef group aims to lower the age of slaughter

Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the beef sector suggested in an interim report by the Beef Vision Group include a reduction in the age at slaughter and a reduction in the age at first calving.

The recommendation is to move to an average target range of 24 to 27 months in the mitigation plan, although the effectiveness of this measure depends on existing stocking rates not increasing.

However, it is understood that stakeholders said not all systems and breed types lend themselves equally to these improvements.

The need to supply factories with beef cattle year-round and potential increases in administrative costs and the potential for further development of bull beef markets are also factors to consider.

Other actions proposed in the draft document include the further development of methane-reducing feed technologies and the set target to replace part of CAN with proprietary urea in grass-based beef production systems by the end of 2025.

However, the key challenges here are availability and cost, with stakeholders pointing out that recent years have shown the market to be slower to respond than growing demand.

An increase in organic production and a reduction in the amount of chemical nitrogen used in the beef sector are also proposed measures. The report notes that fertilizer costs could facilitate such a reduction.

While increasing acceptance of organic production will lead to a reduction in the amount of fertilizer used, some stakeholders fear that the domestic market is saturated and capacity for international growth is limited by customers’ preference for locally sourced produce.

A voluntary diversification scheme as well as a voluntary extensification scheme are also outlined in the document, while the potential of a methane-focused cap and trade emissions model is proposed along with methane-mitigating breeding strategies.

The report recommends examining the potential for farmers to diversify their farming activity away from ruminant rearing voluntarily for a minimum number of years.

However, there are concerns about disproportionately high intakes by the human milk sector and possible implications for existing communal accommodation requirements should be considered.

Stakeholders also said that this recommendation should be viewed in the context of building capacity for productive efficiencies rather than a reduction/phasing out action to remove their breeding ruminant populations in exchange for an appropriate incentive.

Others said the proposed exclusion of all breeding ruminants will exacerbate concerns about land abandonment, particularly on marginal land.

Other measures in the document include improving nitrogen use efficiency through liming and soil pH, and promoting multispecies adoption of clover and sod.

In addition, it is recommended that further interventions to increase uptake of LESS in cattle ranches be encouraged, while options for energy diversification should be explored.

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/beef-group-targets-slaughter-age-reduction-41983529.html The beef group aims to lower the age of slaughter

Fry Electronics Team

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