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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Without ruminants, we could not make use of 2/3 of all agricultural land in the world’

“Without ruminants, we could not make use of 2/3 of all agricultural land in the world,” a world-renowned professor told CAVI Sustainable Livestock Production Conference – Meeting 2030 Targets earlier this month.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Frank Mitloehner – Professor and Air Quality Specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, highlighted the importance of utilising our natural resources to feed the world’s growing population at the event.

Irish veterinary community attended to discuss their role in assisting farmers towards achieving sustainable food production goals.

During his presentation, entitled re-thinking methane: livestock path’s to climate neutrality,

“We have a limited amount of natural resources to feed the growing global human population, so it is imperative for us to make the best use of all the resources we have.”

“For a country like Ireland, to me, there is no doubt that you have to use those resources, all that green grass that you are famous for all over the world, in order to produce highly nutritious food products.”

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“If you reduce your livestock, the consumer demand for animal products remains, so this food will simply be produced by other countries, which then produce the emissions – this is called leakage, and it does not work.”

I hope that the veterinary community in Ireland helps your policymakers understand this point.”

Rethinking how we manage methane

He also focused on the importance of re-thinking how we manage methane.

Dr Mitloehner told the conference that tackling the issue around livestock and its impact on our climate “demands for us to re-think methane”.

He commented that the gas is only a problem if we do not manage it, but if we do, it can be a solution.

Moreover, he advised exploring opportunities such as converting methane into electrical power as “reducing methane reduces global warming”.

Other key messages:

  • Can selectively breed cattle to produce less methane;
  • Dutch study showed by doing so, farmers could reduce methane intensity by 24% by 2050;
  • Ruminant BioTech’s CALM bolus technology claims to be able to reduce methane in ruminants by 70% – New Zealand company aiming for 2025 commercial release.

CAVI conference

The CAVI Sustainable Livestock Production Conference took place at the Tullamore Court Hotel, Co. Offaly, on Wednesday, January 18th.

The event set out to explore the environmental impact of our agriculture and food industries and to examine how vets, working with their clients, can positively impact and contribute towards a more sustainable agricultural sector into the future.

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