‘Reducing carbon footprint will drive farm efficiency’

Alltech’s European bioscience centre director, Kevin Tuck, has told a grouping of farm industry leaders that the challenge of reducing the carbon footprint of Irish agriculture should not be viewed as a form of millstone that has been tied around the neck of farmers.

“In fact, the very opposite is the case,” he stressed.

“The reality is that by acting to reduce the carbon footprint of their businesses, Irish livestock producers will significantly improve overall efficiency and profit levels. And this is a linkage that holds within all production scenarios.”

The Alltech representative made these comments to farm industry representatives, visiting the company’s new European Headquarters facility, near Dunboyne in Co Meath this morning.

He continued: “We are now offering the farming industry an easy to use management tool, which will allow farmers, feed compounders and consultants to predict with total accuracy the global warming production factor of the rations they are feeding to ruminant stock on a daily basis.

“Underpinning the new ‘What If’ tool, is the use of an in-vitro analysis technique, which accurately assessed the gas production potential of a specific total mixed ration. Included in the analytical results obtained is an accurate determination of the methane produced by the ration when offered under commercial feeding conditions.

“Armed with this information, it is possible to determine the impact any ration will have on the carbon footprint generated at individual farm level.”

Tuck went on to point out that TMR rations can be tweaked to ensure a lower level of greenhouse gas production, thereby improving the efficiency of milk and beef output achieved.

“We know that in dairying situations, the feeding of one kilos of dry matter should lead to the production of 1.5 litres of milk,” he further explained.

“However, at the present time Irish dairy farmers are only securing 1.1 litres of milk per kilo of dry matter feed. This figure alone reflects the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on local farms and to drive forward efficiency levels.”

Alltech is set to secure US$1bn in global sales in 2013. The company hopes to increase this figure threefold over the next four years.

“Our current sales performance has been secured on the back of the research and development work carried out in-house by Alltech over the past 30 years,” Tuck concluded.

“And we want to build on this for the future. Our current research budget is in the region of US$25m annually. This figure is set to grow dramatically in line with our sales forecasts for the years ahead.”

Pictured attending today’s Alltech European hub open day were: David Talyor, Animal Nutrition; Cathal McCormack, Alltech; and Richard Whelan, IHFA

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