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Better cows here than on cleared rainforest

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,697 ✭✭✭✭Danzy


    They have but how is that compatible with 24 month beef.


    An awful lot of beef farms have been at what you describe since time immemorial, most in the last 20 years and an awful lot more in the last 6 months.


    All out the window with 24 month beef.


    Ultimately the problem is that no one in Europe wants to pay for the production of their food, they certainly have no interest in it being organic, no interest in sustainability etc etc. Whether beef, dairy,fruit,veg pulse etc etc. That doesn't change.


    They want it produced below cost, and if they can't continue to do that here, they'll get it imported from outside of Europe where they won't be inconvenienced by regulations, environmental protection, people who want more than a dollar an hour and where 5 times the Fertilizer rate is common compared to Western Europe, we are well below the Western European average.


    Just to be clear the above are people who tend to Vote green, are concerned about climate, biodiversity etc. The picture is bleaker outside of that demographic.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,195 ✭✭✭Markus Antonius


    Does anyone actually believe this charade of 22-30% "negotiations" going on between the party leaders?

    It's nothing but a sham debate to get people to swallow this arbitrary 22% figure that will lead to an unprecedented cost to farmers and taxpayers



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,400 ✭✭✭beachhead


    As 1st post says - don't worry about what happens globally.Whether Brazil wants to sell/clear the entire Amazon(it possesses the majority of it),that other nations want to kill everything that walks,swims.We have to do our bit.Our tiny little splat of a gnat's bite nation in all the world.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,363 ✭✭✭dePeatrick




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,400 ✭✭✭beachhead


    It works on boards



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,618 ✭✭✭El Tarangu




  • Registered Users Posts: 408 ✭✭Orion402


    The last academic doctrine that escaped into political/social society was Victorian natural selection and the belief that some nations are more evolved than other cultures with the imperative to invade and exterminate those considered inferior. It isn't rocket science and obviously the lessons have not been learned as what is effectively a races/racism doctrine given a formal biological stamp of approval-

    " On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selectionor the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" Charles Darwin, 1859

    A less favoured 'race' looks like this-

    " Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts- and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five-sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal 'struggle for existence,' it would be the inferior and less Favoured Race that had prevailed- and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults and narrower brain. " Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, 1871

    I couldn't care less what people call me, this is history with all the awful consequences of people not reasoning clearly and with discipline. The Holocaust really happened and an academic doctrine of natural selection was behind it-

    “Truly, this earth is a trophy cup for the industrious man. And this rightly so, in the service of natural selection. He who does not possess the force to secure his Lebensraum in this world, and, if necessary, to enlarge it, does not deserve to possess the necessities of life. He must step aside and allow stronger peoples to pass him by.” Adolf Hitler

    A society that is driven entirely stupid by what is effectively computer gaming by a bunch of academics living in a fantasy world is hardly civilised. It is not good for any nation and especially a society that exists on an island with a maritime climate that isn't going to change.

    Post edited by Orion402 on


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    1.5 million animals here must be slaughtered


    Note the bullshit of John Sweeney "John Sweeney, a climate expert at Maynooth University, is skeptical. “Various tried and untried methods have been advanced to suggest compliance with the 25% emissions ceiling.” They were insufficient, he said. “Only a reduction in numbers can achieve the targets in the short term.”

    Sweeney estimates Ireland will need to reduce its number of cattle by 1 million by 2030. “The use of emotive words like ‘cull’ is unhelpful and inflames a process which can be managed in a more gradual manner,” he said."


    Definition of cull

     (Entry 1 of 2)

    transitive verb

    1 : to select from a group : choose culled the best passages from the poet's work Damaged fruits are culled before the produce is shipped.

    2 : to reduce or control the size of (something, such as a herd) by removal (as by hunting or slaughter) of especially weak or sick individuals The town issued hunting licenses in order to cull the deer population. culling a herd of cattle also : to hunt or kill (individuals) for culling culling diseased cows culled hundreds of deer



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    If beef animals went to slaughter earlier, say at 20 months rather than 24 months, that would equate to a 17% reduction in numbers.

    I do not know the actual averages of animals going for slaughter, but reducing that would be the same as reducing the herd. Now the animals are obviously smaller, but I doubt that they would be 17% smaller, but I would welcome a clear answer on that. They obviously consume less fodder over their shorter time as well, which could be covered by less nitrogen on the land or less winter feed.

    Farmers are brilliant at adapting to adverse circumstances.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    I personally think that would be completely counterproductive if it happened

    Here is why I think that.....Production of beef is at its core a simple game......put as many kilos of beef as you can on a carcass

    If you reduce slaughter age either by rule or incentive it will incentivise the feeding of more and more concentrates to get the carcass to suitable slaughter weight.....

    Fine I hear you say....but that means farmer is increasingly dependant on inputs....concentrated feed + production of v high quality silage (so diesel, plastic, contractor etc).....not good for environment


    If that doesnt happen and a beef farmer can't get the carcass to suitable weights they will be paid less by processor for less kgs of meat so will then have to carry more animals to compensate => more animals not less


    The single most myopic suggestion I have seen regarding reducing the herd for environmental reasons is lower slaughter age and incredibly imho its seems to be gaining traction....


    It's not good for the farmer, its not good for the environment....it is good for industry and making slaves of yhe farmer however.......shades of the chicken industry in the US about it tbh


    Consider for a moment what increasing the slaughter age and letting an animal come fit naturally would do to numbers


    If a herd reduction is required....increase the slaughter age to 36 months or over....less animals on farms (as the landbase can only sustain do many) less inputs as they come fit naturally and better prices for yhe produce as there is less of it and its better quality (more marbelling etc)....as with a lot of things letting things happen naturally and not forcing will be the best route....forcing or incentivising reduced slaughter ages won't reduce GHGs or benefit the environment


    Any move to reduce GHGs by decreasing slaughter age will achieve the opposite, either more heads or more turnover of stock or both.....its a deeply counterproductive industry led thimblerig imo


    And to see the amount of people on board with the idea simply down to reading numbers without considering the impact on the ground is deeply depressing......of course a lot of them work for the various vested interests and are seemingly unable to respond to a straight question regarding this idea (I say this from experience)



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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    @Amacca I think you must have missed the lesson learned from mad cow disease, and the reduction of slaughter age as a way to combat it.

    I think the whole beef business has moved on since then - and will move some more to combat emissions. Earlier slaughter age is just one change. Reduction of concentrates will be another. Changes to the spreading of slurry is another. Changes to the sward to give a broader variety of plants so that less nitrogen will be needed - perhaps eradicated all together. Lots of changes - many reducing costs to the producer.

    Those small beef producers that lose money and require CAP subsidies should be persuaded to retire.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    OK...explain clearly how reducing slaughter age will reduce numbers or indeed emissions and benefit the environment....never mind the farmer......its working against nature. I've raised beef for nearly 40 years now, animals come fit and put on weight naturally from about the 26 month mark....


    As far as I can see increasing slaughter age in tandem with reducing inputs etc as described above is the way to go if people are serious about benefiting the environment and making beef farming sustainable for farm families and not just large intensive semi feedlot style producers.....


    I've posed the question many times to advocates of reducing slaughter age and ultimately they were unable to produce anything like a satisfactory answer.......


    Some hadn't even thought of ramifications or didn't care because it suited.....reminded me of teagasc etc going full steam ahead into dairy expansion with seemingly not an iota of care or thought to what their advice would do to the quality of male dairy calves (an issue that will eventually blow up in everyone's faces)....


    Or foodharvest 2020.........who was that good for ultimately....



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    if it's to happen by 2030, no culling would be required. you'd simply breed fewer cattle and the numbers would reduce.

    i.e. no one is suggesting that we reduce the national herd by 1.5m tomorrow.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    anyway, speaking of rainforest, we've removed a hell of a lot of ours and are gaining very little for it.




  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    What are you advocating here....


    When was the "rainforest" removed...



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Why not introduce wolf, bear and lynx as some idiots are suggesting? That should reduce the numbers pretty fast and curtail those gases.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    OK, the current way dairy farmers breed cattle is predominately to bring cows into milking, and provide replacement heifers. The male dairy calf is not really useful for much - in particular the likes of Guernsey ones - great creamy milk from the cow, but scraggy bulls. That needs to change so the male calf is good for beef.

    Research needs to be done on all aspects of dairy and beef production to get the best results for both. Intensive production of dairy is not really sustainable, and intensive beef production is also not sustainable - or at least the way it happens now.

    Sending animals for slaughter will reduce numbers because they are on the land for shorter time - assuming the numbers are not increased to compensate. Reducing nitrogen by using better sward that fix nitrogen (e.g. using clover) will cut input costs with no loss of fodder (well according to some who have done this). Cutting concentrates should also reduce inputs, and could increase margins if the animals do not lose thrive if the sward mix compensates.

    At the end of the day, if the return to the farmer stays the same, the that is all that matters. Current production is not profitable for many and only for the CAP, farmers would be out of business. Clearly, there is little time to sort this.

    All these actions and their result depends on each farm's circumstances, like land quality, and the efforts and investments needed to achieve these results.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    Assuming numbers wont be increased to compensate is quite the assumption....


    Assuming farmers won't decide or be effectively forced to horse in the concentrates to get already poor potential dairy x animals fit for slaughter at or under 20 months ....or that family farms won't get forced out in favour of much larger scale intensive operators that can do this is one hell of an assumption too if you don't mind me saying.....


    If those are the assumptions this modelling exercise is based on I'd respectfully suggest the assumptions are re-examined and another iteration attempted......


    If less intensive or more extensive beef production is the goal then the slaughter age needs to be increased not decreased imo....


    Think very carefully about the ramifications of slaughter ages around 20 months or even 26 months and I'll be surprised if you don't end up agreeing with me as from any of your posts Ive read to date you seem like an intelligent poster.....reducing slaughter age does not benefit the family farm/small scale producer and it sure as hell won't benefit the environment imo....



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    Probably in the last couple of hundred or thousand years. And it's not rainforest in inverted commas.


    And I'm advocating that Irish farming overall cannot claim to be universally efficient. The example above is 250 acres that would be far better suited to allowing woodland (or whatever climax vegetation would establish there) than to produce less money than would pay for a 20 a day cigarette habit.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    I am not an agricultural economist, but I do wish to see the current climate change halted and possibly reversed. My house is close to sea level close to the sea.

    Farmers get a poor deal because of the way prices are manipulated by supermarkets and meat factories. That needs to change. We can agree on that.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    100%


    I don't believe reducing slaughter age will achieve that or benefit the environment/reduce GHGs however....a point worth repeating often afaic.

    Post edited by amacca on


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    I was under the impression you said something along the lines of .... speaking of rainforest weve removed a hell of a lot of ours?


    I've stood in parts of the amazon rainforest and native irish woodland (what small sections are left) and although both were magnificent they werent comparable imho.....Id argue the inverted commas should definitely stay.


    Regarding Irish farming not being universally efficient...I think I understand what you mean by efficient but you should be aware when any of the advisory bodies/powers that be have spoken about efficiency in the past they almost invariably mean efficiency in terms of output to the detriment of the farmer.


    That 250 acres could be put to better use if and its a big if....... the owner is rewarded properly to do so and doesn't have the future use of the land taken out of his or perhaps his families (if he has one) hands in perpetuity effectively.


    My issue with a lot of the schemes and decrees from "above" is they are frequently poorly thought out, benefit vested interests and in some cases make little sense beyond being hoops to jump through.....some appear to even be destructive to the environment.


    Take the latest acres scheme....theres a measure in that called coppicing which pays per metre.....unless I was misinformed (and the info was from agri consultants) ...coppicing as defined by the scheme is to take a hedge and cut it to the butt, then fence it off to let it grow back thicker......if the hedge is already thick or high and providing a perfectly fine habitat and supporting biodiversity no matter go ahead and cut it to the butt or you wont get paid.......it appears deeply counter productive, its stuff like that (and believe me that's not an isolated example) that has me deeply deeply suspicios of anyone outside of my gates advocating changes in land use etc



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    I've stood in parts of the amazon rainforest and native irish woodland (what small sections are left) and although both were magnificent they werent comparable imho.....Id argue the inverted commas should definitely stay.

    the climax woodland of ireland on the west coast is temperate rainforest. obviously a different species mix and growth rate, etc. but it's considered rainforest.

    anyway, i was just pointing out the irony of people saying 'we're better off growing meat here instead of places like brazil, at the expense of rainforest' when much of irish farming is quite literally done at the expense of rainforest. we've a pitiful amount of native woodland in ireland.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    Take the latest acres scheme....theres a measure in that called coppicing which pays per metre.....unless I was misinformed (and the info was from agri consultants) ...coppicing as defined by the scheme is to take a hedge and cut it to the butt, then fence it off to let it grow back thicker......if the hedge is already thick or high and providing a perfectly fine habitat and supporting biodiversity no matter go ahead and cut it to the butt or you wont get paid.......it appears deeply counter productive, its stuff like that (and believe me that's not an isolated example) that has me deeply deeply suspicios of anyone outside of my gates advocating changes in land use etc

    yeah, there are several examples of schemes like that as far as i understand; where benign inaction is not rewarded, but destructive action is. padraig fogarty's 'whittled away' gives an account of a few of them.

    IIRC one of the funny ones is that farmers can claim a small grant for providing sand heaps for burrowing bees. except there are no criteria about placement, or crucially, what sort of sand is used - so a farmer could simply buy a ton of builder's sand, dump it in the corner of the yard, and claim the grant, having fulfilled the requirements.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,851 ✭✭✭amacca


    On the basis our woodlands were cleared hundreds or perhaps a thousand years ago (as you have said) and the amazon rainforest is still in existence (albeit shrinking) ....I dont find it an unreasonable proposition that continuing to raise livestock here rather than clear more rainforest to do so might be a better idea.........not that we are going to influence policy in Brazil etc



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    it's not an either or - in the example given, 250 acres could be left grow (largely) back to woodland - or bog, which also sequesters carbon, but it's not allowed to because of a horrendously ineffiecient farming practice. that chap is raising one lamb per hectare per annum.

    his turnover is €16 per acre. that'd be a pitifully cheap income to forgo to allow woodland to redevelop, grant aiding him to do that should be a no-brainer.

    the majority of farm income in ireland is via subsidies anyway, there was no mention of what subsidies he receives in the tweet, but it's highly likely the subsidies are worth significantly more than the farming activity.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,014 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    Then give him more subsidies to leave the land grow with native forestry, so that its more profitable than farming a lamb per hectare.

    What this has to do with cutting beef herds I have no idea



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,275 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder


    The thread is about raising livestock on cleared rainforest, so that makes it relevant?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,235 ✭✭✭paul71


    Wrong tread



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