RESULTS of a multi-year study involving over 4,000 animals at ABP’s Demonstration Farms in Shropshire and the Republic of Ireland have shown that the level of methane emissions could be reduced by up to 40 per cent against ABP’s current average when a more data-driven approach is applied across the supply chain.
The findings were presented by ABP at this year’s prestigious City Food Lecture in London, which took place as a virtual event recently due to Covid-19 restrictions. The study shows that by using a data-driven approach to selective breeding, it is possible to encourage the siring of beef animals that are more efficient at converting feed to protein, reaching their target weight earlier and thereby significantly reducing their environmental footprint.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the study indicates that farmers could improve their economic returns by up to £100 per head – demonstrating that economic and environmental sustainability can go hand in hand.
Dean Holroyd, ABP’s Technical and Sustainability Director, said: “Beef produced on farms across the British Isles is already recognised as being amongst the most sustainable in the world. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate what can be achieved on a typical farm.
“By harnessing data and information across the entire supply chain from conception to the consumer’s plate, this research shows we can further improve economic and environmental performance of our beef farmers in a global marketplace while also satisfying changing consumer desires for more sustainable diets.
“We are already putting this research into practice and applying it successfully. In Northern Ireland, for example, the Horizon Partnership with Dale Farm has been underpinned by the findings of our research. This is resulting in a more sustainable dairy to beef programme for participants of the scheme.”
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