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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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Reducing carbon emissions in dairy beef production

ABP has released the third and final episode of its podcast series, Farm Matters.

The focus is on the important topic of reducing carbon emissions in dairy beef production, and the role that beef genetics can play in sustainability.

Contributors to the podcast shared their knowledge and opinions of this area. These 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 County Cork.

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, to reduce its environmental impact.

Also, he discussed the difficulties faced by Teagasc in collecting data on farms due to 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 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 of the role of the dairy beef calf has in the dairy industry. Furthermore, he highlighted how every dairy farmer should place emphasis on the value of their calf.

Martin Kane, managing director, 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.”


ABP has been working in conjunction with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Teagasc for over 5 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:

  • Firstly, reduce enteric methane emissions by up to 17% within cattle breed.
  • Enteric methane emissions by up to 28% across cattle breed.
  • Lastly, 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.

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

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

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

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