Certified Irish Angus Elite Breed Improvement Programme is the first of its kind for beef farmers in Ireland
25th August 2022: Certified Irish Angus has today launched a pioneering new programme which will reward breeders with a unique bonus scheme which aims to reduce GHG emissions by up to 9% per kilo of beef. The initiative, which is the first of its kind for any breed in Ireland, will enhance the genetics of Angus cross cattle in order to reduce carbon emissions and provide a cross-sectoral solution that will benefit pedigree breeders, dairy farmers and beef producers.
The Certified Irish Angus Elite Breed Improvement Programme is being headed up by Catherine Smyth, who has significant experience in livestock genetics with a degree in sustainable agriculture. The initiative began in December 2021 with the purchase of Drumcrow Tribesman, an Elite Angus bull with superior genetics as part of a joint venture with Dovea Genetics.
“Using the best genetics available can increase the sustainability of Angus cross animals at each stage of the production cycle. This programme has been almost 12-months in the making and involved extensive research and analysis to identify how we could help beef farmers move the dial when it comes to GHG emissions. By improving the quality of Angus cross cattle through better genetics we can increase carcass weight and decrease the age of slaughter which results in a significant reduction in overall emissions per animal. Our programme also aims to improve the level of beef sire recording on dairy farms, which in turn provides essential genetic information to beef farmers on the likely performance and future value of these calves” Catherine Smyth said.
The programme offers a range of financial incentives and supports for farmers as follows:
Speaking about the initiative, Charles Smith, General Manager, Certified Irish Angus said, “We are really excited about this programme which has been designed to accelerate change in Angus cross breeding to improve the financial and sustainability credentials of Certified Irish Angus Beef Production. We believe that this model is something which could be followed by others around the country and our collective efforts could go a long way towards helping beef farmers to meet our carbon reduction targets. We wish to highlight the role each farmer makes in the production cycle i.e. the decision that the pedigree breeder makes when choosing sires that will be used as stock bulls in dairy herds; the decision the dairy farmer makes when purchasing these bulls; and the decision the beef farmer makes when purchasing a dairy beef calf for finishing – all of these decisions make an impact on the final product, and its associated carbon footprint, when it reaches the consumer.”
Certified Irish Angus currently has nine pilot dairy farms with cows that are in calf to Drumcrow Tribesman. Offspring from this bull will also be used in the Certified Irish Angus school competition which forms an education aide to students studying Agricultural Science for Leaving Cert and provides students with an insight into efficient animal breeding, feeding, processing, and marketing.
Find out more at our National Ploughing Championships exhibition from September 20th-22nd.