Irish farms’ big green advantage boils down to water availability

Irish agriculture has a unique advantage in relation to water and the volumes that fall on the country, when it comes to livestock production.

Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s fresh water – often through irrigation – but Ireland has a unique advantage, thanks to the level of rainfall we enjoy.

Research carried out by Cranfield University on behalf of Bord Bia for its Origin Green programme shows that Ireland’s H2o usage per unit of output is reduced because of relatively high grass yields, which in turn reduce the level of concentrate feeds used in Ireland.

In Ireland, we see average annual rainfall of over 1,000mm.

Water Usage in Beef Production

On beef farms, consumption averaged 8,700L/kg CWE, which is significantly below the international quoted figure of 16,000L.

‘Green’ water, or that from plants grown where rainwater falls, accounted for 99.5 of total H2o consumption.

Dairy Production

Water consumption on dairy farms in Ireland averaged 600L/kg of fat and protein corrected milk. ‘Green’ water accounts for almost 99% of total water consumption on dairy farms.

The research shows that almost all the H2o used in beef and dairy production in Ireland comes from natural rainfall.

Figures from the UN show that half of the world’s population could be living under water stress by 2020.

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