Will Irish Farming be sacrificed at the altar of Climate Change?



blue max

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Are you referring to this publication Metcalf & Eddy (2003) Wastewater Engineering: Treatment and Reuse. 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York.McGraw-Hill, New York.

Where within the IHE-Delft do they define eutrophication
 

owedtojoy

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I think this usefully frames the issue. We could add the simple fact of changing consumer tastes, highlighted by the whole vegan folderol.

One way or another, Irish farming faces change because (whether for reasons of Brexit, climate or consumer tastes) demand for its meat and dairy products is likely to fall very significantly.

And the idea that a sustainable response to the climate agenda is exporting even further afield is nonsense, and obvious nonsense.

Headlines about us tripling dairy exports to lactose-intolerant Asia are cloaking the fact that we export very little of our product to those places. Where do you find a replacement market for the half of our product that goes to the UK? In keeping with the general level of myth and nonsense surrounding Irish agriculture, that issue is avoided.

We can't seem to join the dots, or talk about what a genuinely sustainable food sector would look like. It wouldn't, I suspect, seek to retain our current position as net food energy importers.

The reluctance to change is very deeply ingrained. Regardless of how unsustainable the current structure of our agriculture is, there seems to be a deep need to believe that, somehow, it has to be continued concentration on a couple of products for export, or nothing.
The populist "thing" is to promise that tomorrow can be made to be exactly like yesterday and change can be prevented. Or that a country can be made great "again", or returned to some heroic age of Empire (Brexit).

The OP and the accompanying whining are just more of the same.

Agriculture is a business that has to be agile and change to suit its circumstances just like any other. Those who think rejecting change of agriculture in a changing climate is not going down a blind-alley will just have to get over it.
 

wombat

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Agriculture is a business that has to be agile and change to suit its circumstances just like any other. Those who think rejecting change of agriculture in a changing climate is not going down a blind-alley will just have to get over it.
There is a difference between adapting to changing circumstances and going out of business. There are a lot of part time farmers who raise a few beef cattle who could probably be induced to switch to growing trees but that's not the same as covering Meath in concrete or the Golden Vale with windmills.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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My suspicion is that because of the dynamic of winding down agricultural subsidies over time due to negotiations at GATT/WTO talks that the model of the small family owned farm is the one that is in danger.

Obviously increased roboticisation will have an effect too but to get the best economic benefit out of robotics in agriculture the business model has to change to large scale corporate farming rather than a patchwork of privately owned farms under a certain size.

I think the only way out I can see in the medium to long term is for privately held farms under a couple of hundred acres to absorb the technological benefits and share in a revived co-op system. Large scale co-ops might be able to compete with the corporate model but only by imitating it.

Other than that small farms would have to develop a new niche market because when the combine's time comes it would be impossible to compete against it and the small farms would be picked off one by one.
 

Watcher2

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Irish farming is suited to raising animals and not suited to large scale grain production. It would be in the interests of Irish politicians not to get steamrolled on this
100%. Our dairy products are renowned the world over for their quality. The Irish politicians should not lose sight of this and should hold firm against anything that might jeopardise that position.
 

Watcher2

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No, this point isn't missed.

Its actually overstated by Irish agricultural advocates. Teagasc, for example, have produced stats on employment that effectively include the checkout operator in Tesco or Supervalu, who sells you imported veg, as a job generated by Irish Agriculture.

The image that's good to bear in mind at this time is Supervalu "Signature Taste" Orange Juice, which comes in a big bottle screaming "From Co Carlow" on the side of it.

Made with oranges flown into the airport, and taken out of the city on the back of a truck.

Irish agriculture needs a collective kick in the head. Long overdue.
Do you have as link to where I might find these Teagasc reports?
 

McTell

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No
Check out the nascent beginnings of feedlot based intensification in ireland tht i referred to earlier. As I mentioned its a retrograde move from a brand, environment and margin point of view.
Its not a large piece of teh puzzle at the moment but indicates that there is lack of recognition in industry of what the future strategic positioning should be.

We've had some feedlots here for years, mostly in Leinster / Munster. But farming here is all about keeping costs down and most of our farms are too small.

Keeping costs down ties in mostly with the green agenda, from necessity not planning. Grass fed beef taking 3 years to mature is much tastier than feedlot beef taking 2 years, so while you will turn over more animals on a feedlot, you may not get paid as much per kg.

Dairy and lamb, again grass is cheapest and gives a better product.

As for the methane argument, there's a seaweed recipe food additive that reduces it, and again, I'll know when we really have a serious C02 problem because this stuff will be sold everywhere.
 

Carbontax

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We've had some feedlots here for years, mostly in Leinster / Munster. But farming here is all about keeping costs down and most of our farms are too small.

Keeping costs down ties in mostly with the green agenda, from necessity not planning. Grass fed beef taking 3 years to mature is much tastier than feedlot beef taking 2 years, so while you will turn over more animals on a feedlot, you may not get paid as much per kg.

Dairy and lamb, again grass is cheapest and gives a better product.

As for the methane argument, there's a seaweed recipe food additive that reduces it, and again, I'll know when we really have a serious C02 problem because this stuff will be sold everywhere.
I finish Bulls at 16 months for slaughter. Belgian Blue / Angus Cross. They have a very high conversion rate that could not be achieved on a grass system.
 

Carbontax

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Beef consumption per capita runs at abour 11kgs per year.

The UN want us to switch from Beef to lower CO2 emitting foods like farmed fish.
 

kerdasi amaq

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So you believe the Gospel According to the Sunday Times, a big pusher of climate change denial in the past ....

You probably do not have the guts to admit your own denial of climate change.

Because if you agree climate change is happening, then you must agree we have to address it ....

... and that means Irish Agriculture has to do its bit.
A bit so small; it won't any difference at all, except to feed the egos or really stupid politicians.
 

kerdasi amaq

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My suspicion is that because of the dynamic of winding down agricultural subsidies over time due to negotiations at GATT/WTO talks that the model of the small family owned farm is the one that is in danger.

Obviously increased roboticisation will have an effect too but to get the best economic benefit out of robotics in agriculture the business model has to change to large scale corporate farming rather than a patchwork of privately owned farms under a certain size.

I think the only way out I can see in the medium to long term is for privately held farms under a couple of hundred acres to absorb the technological benefits and share in a revived co-op system. Large scale co-ops might be able to compete with the corporate model but only by imitating it.

Other than that small farms would have to develop a new niche market because when the combine's time comes it would be impossible to compete against it and the small farms would be picked off one by one.
Or, in other words, the EU is reneging on the implicit political pact that induced us to join that rotten organisation, in the first place. Now they have received what they want and no longer have to pay their silver pennies for it.
 

kerdasi amaq

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Could we be looking at another Irish Sugar debacle? The EU has decided that Irish beef rearing is surplus to European requirements and their Irish land agents have instructed to shut this industry down under the guise of saving the planet?
 

Roberto Jordan

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Could we be looking at another Irish Sugar debacle? The EU has decided that Irish beef rearing is surplus to European requirements and their Irish land agents have instructed to shut this industry down under the guise of saving the planet?
In teh case of Irish Sugar the decision was a domestic one. The same quota changes and compensation offers were put in place right across the EU.

But while producers in the neighboring wet island, france, the industrialized nation of germany and , even, the former russian colony of Finland continued to invest in and recover profit from sugar production there was a suspiciously uniform media & political opinion in Ireland that the age when it was economical or fair for Europe to produce was passed and , while it was sad, best to move on.

Funny you might think given the extent to which this was swallowed whole that the owners Greencore are historically so close to the party of the large farmers & their friends in FG. And that every large and small quota holding farmer was being fed a line , "take the compo now and if you have greencore shares wait until you see where they go when X developer ( who had bought ontoteh board) buys teh land in Carlow once its zoned for housing)"

Of course what they had not bet on was
1) The land in carlow being so expensive to re-mediate - despite having been told this by their own people at the time...it was a complex large industrial site for almost 100 years....
2) The housing crash making those costs unattractive or not immediately payable
3) They had also bet on a final exit package being forthcoming at a point when they would unlock the supposed value of the mallow site. Hence they had made the short term decision to keep to the coal burning less automated but cheaper to run in the short term mallow open, while closing the gas /biogas powered , more automated, closer to more of the crop Carlow plant. Then they got screwed by the poor estimation of the costs needed to fund carlow work and the terms & timing of the exit deal - meaning they ended up pulling the plug on mallow.

All of this was enabled by the short term ism of irish political and commercial strategy, the disinterest in irish firms of building real value add or sustainable competitive value ( so an irish state funded company , greencore, is run by a succession of well connected FG accountants who pivot it from a small to medium ingredients company with access to western europes most sustainable base producers into a Irish brass-plate, UK based low margin high volume sandwich maker) and the collective greed of many of the stakeholders across the base producers, the Dept of Ag, the IFA, greencore shareholers etc.

very little if any of this can be laid at the door of the EU. In fact the EU told the WTO that reforms would not benefit small producers in developing nations ( who received subsidies & preferential access from teh EU under the old regime) , as was intended, but rather open the european & world markets to massive oligarch owned producers in Brazil, thailand and australia....and that exactly what happened.

I am not marxist theorist but Agriculture is a really interesting micorcosm of society because you have this large bunch of small and medium sized players who give the industry political weight but class-ism and capital promotes the large players to positions of leadership. They then lead the great mass in directions that suit them but often not the majority. Movements like the co=-op movement have temporarily righted this ship, but over time it reverts to the mean. I aint no fan of Tom parlon ,for example, with his shilling for the CFI but I had an interesting conversation with aguy from meath back when parlon was exiting the iFA and he was explaining how parlon was one of the first IFA leaders to get into office without placating the large famer/ industry lobby and that this inevitably set him up for a fall... it also possibly influenced his attraction to the PDs given their shtick of the property owners nirvana of a liberally open but tightly rule bound & fair economy..
 

Roberto Jordan

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We've had some feedlots here for years, mostly in Leinster / Munster. But farming here is all about keeping costs down and most of our farms are too small.

Keeping costs down ties in mostly with the green agenda, from necessity not planning. Grass fed beef taking 3 years to mature is much tastier than feedlot beef taking 2 years, so while you will turn over more animals on a feedlot, you may not get paid as much per kg.

Dairy and lamb, again grass is cheapest and gives a better product.

As for the methane argument, there's a seaweed recipe food additive that reduces it, and again, I'll know when we really have a serious C02 problem because this stuff will be sold everywhere.
I believe there has been a significant increase in number of herds registered to feedlot operations over the last couple of years and that close to 20% of the beef for slaughter comes from these operations now.

It may well be fine. But doesnt strike me as being in step with any vision of Irish beef production being sustained based on branding.
 

McTell

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I believe there has been a significant increase in number of herds registered to feedlot operations over the last couple of years and that close to 20% of the beef for slaughter comes from these operations now.

It may well be fine. But doesnt strike me as being in step with any vision of Irish beef production being sustained based on branding.

That'd be my view. Plus in a downturn it can be harder for feedlots to pay their way.

If the beef is finished too quickly, it can taste soapy and have less texture, but a burger eater doesn't mind that. My basic point is that the scare stories are based on the US reality which is very different to here. But how many of our politicians have so much as worm-dosed a beast with their own hands?

Then there's the emo vegan posters about taking babies away from their mummies. Without beef and dairy there would be no mummies or babies.
 

Schuhart

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More good news for the global ambitions for Irish agriculture
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/climate/climate-fwd-dairy-substitutes.html

It might not be news to you that the world’s beef production creates the most planet-warming emissions over all. But the next item on the list, according to one study, may be more surprising: dairy products.
Now, to be clear
While beef was ranked first and dairy products were ranked second in the study in terms of overall global emissions, the top-ranked animal products as measured by emission intensity are generally buffalo meat and beef. Dairy is much lower on the list. (Emission intensity for a given product can vary widely by producer.)
But it still suggests that there isn't much scope to increase dairy output, globally.
 


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