Some 60-70 per cent of dairy output is due to improved genetics, and huge improvements can be made in beef production, outgoing Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, Matt Dempsey, told the recent Cattle Association of Veterinary Ireland (CAVI) conference.
He said US and Brazilian agriculture is a cause of concern for European farmers as the relative costs of production in Europe continue to rise.
“Coupled with GMO and hormones we are diverging very sharply, technically. We have refused to follow science with precautionary principles and consumer sentiment driving this. Genetics is to farming as good government is to civilisation. You get passed out or collapse. Genetics are going to be increasingly important in driving productivity gains in Europe. We are going to be locked out from scientific advances that are taken for granted elsewhere in the world.” He also said that given our climatic advantages we are going to see a significant increase in milk output in this country with the removal of milk quotas in 2015. “There will be an increase in dairy cow numbers and heifer retentions. There are areas of the country with significant moves from tillage into dairy.” Very significant processing capacity will be in place, he said, but it must be managed correctly.