The technical report released by the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) last weekend – which describes a reduction in cattle numbers to meet higher climate targets – “ignores the positive benefits” of suckler farming.

This is according to the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA), which said the report “proposes a major reduction” in the suckling herd in Ireland as a way to meet our carbon targets “.

The report shows that, to reduce agricultural emissions by 33%, the number of suckler cows would need to be reduced to around one-fifth of 2018 levels, dropping to around 200,000 head.

Given that the proposed emission reduction target for agriculture is expected to be between 21% and 30%, there is concern that a target set towards the higher end of this spectrum will result in a significant reduction in the number of cows. breastfeeding.

“The proposals to reduce the suckler herd to just 200,000 cows in any of the five scenarios described ignore the positive benefits of extensive livestock systems as practiced by our suckler herders,” said the president of INHFA , Vincent Roddy, today (Wednesday, October 27).

Roddy cited a European Commission report from September 2019 which he said “verified this fact.”

“This [commission] The report, which was developed by 23 key stakeholders from 13 different countries across Europe… provides a detailed overview of sustainable grazing and its impact on carbon sequestration, ”explained Roddy.

“When assessing the impact of our farming systems on climate change, it is essential that we take into account all the science and not what fits a particular ideology.

“The [commission] report is there for everyone to see and I would ask, even at this late stage, the CCAC to study it carefully and not be afraid to consider its suggestion after carrying out this task ”, continued the President. of the INHFA.

Roddy said the INHFA is currently evaluating the CCAC technical report and its impact “not only for agriculture, but for the wider rural community”.

“When completed, we will provide a detailed and thoughtful view and outline all possible actions,” Roddy concluded.