Dairy Cow Cull Scheme: A Costly Fiasco, Says Duffy

Former Macra President Slams Proposed Scheme to Reduce Dairy Cow Population

Former president of Macra, Thomas Duffy, has criticized a proposed scheme to reduce the number of dairy cows in Ireland. Speaking at the Energy and Farm Diversification Show, Duffy condemned the idea of a reduction scheme, also known as a cow cull scheme, as “an absolute waste of money.” The Food Vision Dairy Group, which includes farm organizations and processor representatives, is currently consulting on the design of a potential scheme. While some stakeholders are tentatively in favor of a cull scheme, Macra has consistently opposed the idea and instead advocates for a farm succession scheme. Duffy expressed his agreement with Macra’s stance during a panel discussion on Irish agriculture’s emissions reduction target for 2030. He stated that a cull scheme is a “terrible idea” and a waste of money that would be better spent on incentives like sexed semen. Duffy also highlighted the need to attract more young people to the farming sector and invest in the future of farms. Another panelist, Prof. Gary Lanigan from Teagasc, questioned the necessity of a cull scheme to meet emissions reduction targets. He stated that the new Marginal Abatement Cost Curve developed by Teagasc showed it was possible to achieve the targets without a large-scale cull. However, he acknowledged that there may be changes in the composition of the national herd, with a potential increase in dairy cows and a decrease in suckler cows. The focus in the first carbon budget period will be on reducing the environmental impact of nitrogen, followed by a sharper focus on methane emissions in the second carbon budget.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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