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65k dairy cows face culling to meet climate targets

May 30, 2023 07:35 By News Northern Sound
65k dairy cows face culling to meet climate targets
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Dairy cow numbers increased by 22.6% and milk production increased by 36.9% between 2015 and 2021.

Up to 65,000 dairy cows may have to be culled each year for three years if climate targets for the farming sector are to be met. Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, previously floated the idea of a voluntary dairy reduction scheme, with farmers compensated for reducing their herds.

Now figures obtained by the Farming Independent show almost 200,000 cows may have to be culled to meet the emissions target by 2025, which would cost around €600m.  Meanwhile, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dairy cow numbers increased by 22.6% and milk production increased by 36.9% between 2015 and 2021.

It says the numbers reflect the national plans to expand milk production under Food Wise 2025 and the removal of the milk quota in 2015. Other cattle numbers increased in 2021 by 0.3% and sheep numbers increased by 0.4%.

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EPA added that between 2015 and 2021, the numbers of other cattle increased by 1.9%, while there have been increases in the numbers of sheep (+9.5%), pigs (+13.2%) and poultry (+12.7%).

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