Reducing emissions in dairy beef production is put under the spotlight in the third and final episode of the ABP podcast series Farm Matters.

The topic of reducing carbon emissions in dairy beef production, and in particular the role that beef genetics can play in sustainability, was up for discussion with host Mary Kennedy.

Contributors to the podcast sharing their knowledge and opinions of this area included: Dr. Padraig French, head of the Livestock Systems Department and Dairy Enterprise Leader at Teagasc; Dr. Andrew Cromie, geneticist and technical director at the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF); and Donal McCarthy, a dairy farmer from Clonakilty in Co. Cork.

Podcast discussion

Dr. Padraig French discussed the work of ABP, Teagasc and the ICBF to determine the best possible genetics for the dairy beef herd, which will be beneficial to both the dairy herd and to beef production, which is where a large proportion of calves from dairy cows are utilised.

He talked about future trends in the industry and the need to produce cattle that will grow quickly on a grass-based diet and reach a target carcass weight at a young age, in order to reduce its environmental impact. He also discussed the difficulties faced by Teagasc in collecting data on farms as a result of Covid-19.

Dr. Andrew Cromie spoke further about the role of genetics in reducing emissions from dairy beef production.

This includes identifying and examining cattle with a lower methane output, and how this will help Ireland to reach its ambitious emissions targets.

He also spoke about how this work will benefit farmers and enable them to produce and sell cattle more quickly to producers.

Donal McCarthy discussed the benefits he has experienced in relation to better dairy beef calves from improved sire choice in his dairy herd.

He also reinforced the importance the role of the dairy beef calf has in the dairy industry, and how every dairy farmer should place emphasis on the value of their calf.


ABP said it has been working in conjunction with the ICBF and Teagasc for over five years on a project which examines the environmental and economic impacts of improved genetics on the dairy beef herd.

Results have demonstrated a significant shift in carbon reductions in dairy beef through improved genetics.

The latest findings have shown the potential to:
  • Reduce enteric methane emissions by up to 17% within cattle breed;
  • Reduce enteric methane emissions by up to 28% across cattle breed;
  • Reduce enteric methane reductions by up to 36% across different farming systems.

The results also highlight the potential for improved yields of up to €200 on animal carcass values for beef farmers.

To date over 3,000 animals have participated in the scheme. The research has been carried out at the ABP R&D Farm in Wexford and the ICBF Performance Centre in Kildare.


Commenting on the topic, Martin Kane, managing director of ABP Ireland, said:

“The third and final episode of ‘Farm Matters’ examines the area of reducing emissions in dairy beef production through genetic research.

“I would like to thank Dr. Padraig French, Dr. Andrew Cromie, and Donal McCarthy for taking the time to share their thoughts and experiences on dairy beef production and the positive impact that genetics can have in improving the all-round sustainability of dairy beef production,” Kane added.

The podcast series, presented by Mary Kennedy, aims to create a dialogue within the farming community across Ireland, regarding a wide array of topics.

In line with government Covid-19 guidelines, all podcast episodes are recorded over Zoom.

Episodes will be available on the ABP website and on Spotify, Google, Apple Podcasts, Podcast Addict, Castbox and other podcast platforms.