Members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine recently visited the ABP Demo Farm in Co. Carlow.

The purpose of the visit was to get a briefing on the results and findings from a collaborative research project between ABP, Teagasc and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

The briefing was attended by committee Cathaoirleach Deputy Jackie Cahill, Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice, and Deputy Matt Carthy.

At the event, committee members heard that a “significant reduction” in Irish beef cattle emissions of up to 13% is achievable by improving genetics in the beef herd.

Oireachtas committee members also heard that the research has led to improved returns for farmers of up to €200/animal.

L-R: Managing director of ABP Ireland, Kevin Cahill; Deputy Matt Carthy; Deputy Michael Fitzmaurcie; sustainability manager at ABP, Stephen Connolly and Deputy Jackie Cahill. Image source: Fennell Photography

According to the partners collaborating in the research, the findings have the potential to play “a significant role” in helping Ireland’s agriculture sector reach the targets set out under the Climate Act and are applicable across different beef production systems.

The research has been conducted on ABP’s Demo Farm and is based on six years of research, involving over 4,000 animals.

The output from the research is already being shared with farmers across the country through the ICBF database with over 233,000 calves born and reared on Irish farms bred from beef bulls in the programme.

The ABP Demo Farm aims to demonstrate how improved genetics allow the animals to grow faster through better feed conversion and as a result, will be ready for market at a younger age, reducing emissions significantly.