Written answers

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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855. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the results of the exploration of pathways to encourage earlier finishing of beef animals as per action 315 of the Climate Action Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4891/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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As outlined in the Climate Action Plan, the main way I can reduce methane emissions from a pasture-based beef production system in the medium term is to transition the beef system to a system of earlier finishing of animals. Currently prime beef cattle are slaughtered at an average of 27 months and this can be reduced to an average of 24 months over the course of the decade.

This will require support for breeding improvements but also a critical engagement by the beef processing sector to encourage and support farmers to finish their animals earlier and my Department will continue to engage with stakeholders on this important matter. In addition, officials are currently working with the EPA to ensure that any progress is correctly accounted for in the GHG inventory.  

It is intended to continue with a breeding programme in the next CAP which will build on the gains of both the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP) and the BEEP schemes and help realise the additional gains identified by Teagasc and ICBF. The proposed Suckler Carbon Efficiency Scheme (SCES) will build on significant investments made to date under the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP).

Breeding programmes like the BDGP and the proposed SCEP will continue to play a crucial role in supporting breeding decisions which can help farmers to produce an animal of the required weight at a younger age, so that the improvements are fully reflected in the inventory.


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