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by the dairy sector, live exports are a really big issue. 2017
figures for live exports were up 30 per cent and year-to-
-date we are up over 30 per cent on 2017 figures. There
are some concerns around Turkey because of the lira
weakness but we keep looking for live export markets,
mainly in north Africa, some in the EU. There's a huge
market within the EU for calf exports Belgium, France,
Netherlands, Spain are really big markets. Italy also takes
some live exports from Ireland.
Beefing up in the US
"The US beef market is open and the industry will sell
there when it's price advantageous. The utterances from
the American administration on protectionism would
be of concern to us. We are one of the most open, most
globalised economies and any protectionist approach by
the American regime would be damaging to us. We have
seen how those trade wars can start with lists and counter
lists of tariffs on goods. That's not a space that suits us.
We will obviously be monitoring closely what's happening
in the US. That involves regular engagement with the US
administration."
Reinforcing Origin Green
"Origin Green is enormously important to us because, in
the markets that are paying the highest value-added, our
sustainability credentials are really tested and demanded.
Whether it's infant formula or prime cuts on the beef side,
our sustainability credentials are important. I have always
made the point that our sustainability credentials on
dairy, for example, are good, but that's not to say we don't
need to do more. In fact, we need to redouble our efforts
and bring the industry with us. Origin Green is hugely
important in that context and we are constantly using all
of the instruments at our disposal."
A new direction for CAP
"CAP reform is going to be a really important toolbox
for us in terms of positioning our industry on a more
sustainable basis. The Commission's direction of travel
is very clear. There will be a considerably greener hue
on CAP post 2020 and that is very important. We have a
very solid foundation laid, so, though we might be best
in the world with New Zealand on dairy, we have to do
more. There is a plethora of initiatives that are all part of
the mix, including green, renewable energy production,
grass management and production recordings and carbon
sequestration, through increased afforestation."
Hitting the emission targets
"We are on a journey to 2030 and the targets are
ambitious and challenging but, if we don't reach those
targets, we won't be investing money in agriculture or
other infrastructure that is necessary. We will be paying
fines for our failure to meet emission targets. We need to
step up now. We are past the point of debating all these
issues, we need action. Of our total emissions, about 33
per cent come from agriculture. We can argue that it is
unfair because we don't have the industrial revolution
background of other countries. But we have to get our
emissions down. There are a lot of naysayers who say we
should dismantle our dairy herd or reduce cattle numbers.
I am convinced that we should play to our strengths.
The things that we can do more efficiently than anybody
else, we should do, and a grass-based production system
is in that space. That's not to say that we are there. It's a
constant journey of improvement."
Solving the fodder shortage
"Last year, we imported 16,000 tonnes of fodder. That's
the equivalent of only eight hours feed for the bovine herd
of seven million cattle. There are people who have reached
dramatic conclusions as a consequence of last winter, and
I think some of them are using that difficulty to support
an argument that is unsustainable and at variance with the
facts."
"We are having a challenging year around fodder, but I
think it is manageable. We are dealing with the effects of a
severe drought and, with fertiliser spreading and
other concessions in place, we should be successful
even between now and the end of the growing season, in
closing the gap on the fodder side. In the past we have
had more cattle in the country than we have now in a
decoupled payment system. I think we can sustain our
industry and that includes doing more in terms of grass-
based production."
OCTOBER 2018
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Interview
"CAP reform is going
to be a really important
toolbox for us in terms
of positioning our
industry on a more
sustainable basis."
Minister Creed with Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia
19