Working for Irish Breeders

Stud Farm Sustainability

29-October-21

One of the key objectives of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association for 2022 will centre around an assessment of both carbon emissions and biodiversity levels present on Irish Stud farms. Earlier in the year we conducted a very informative climate change webinar as part of our commitment to educate breeders in this very important area for the future of our industry. The ultimate aim of the project is for the thoroughbred breeding industry in Ireland to identify and adapt management practices that will make a real difference and our efforts will concentrate on the six main pillars listed below.

  1. An assessment of soil health and carbon calculation on stud farms. A key component will be an assessment of spent bedding, the nutrient content and how it can be integrated within the circular economy for reuse within the bloodstock industry.
  2. An assessment of energy usage on stud farms.
  3. An assessment of biodiversity on stud farms.
  4. An assessment of existing land usage, mapping and potential to improve carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
  5. An assessment of waste management on stud farms.
  6. An assessment of water quality on stud farms.

As horses produce considerably less carbon than cattle, are non-intensive, are low users of chemical fertilser and have low stocking rates. Despite the fact that breeders are coming off a low carbon base improvements will be more difficult to achieve but with innovated solutions we should achieve positive results. The association is currently engaging with DAFM on any such initiatives beneficial to breeders.

Ireland has committed to transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity rich, environmentally sustainable and climate neutral economy by 2050. To help achieve this challenging but necessary objective, the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Amendment Act (2021) (the Amendment Act) provides inter alia for the establishment of carbon budgets as interim milestones on this trajectory.

The proposed budgets will enable full compliance with the State’s current target of a 30% reduction by 2030 and are evaluated to be consistent with existing obligations and the proposed targets for Ireland under the EU Climate Law. Another part of the national climate objective relates to biodiversity. The Council’s review of the analysis suggests that it is possible to implement carbon budgets while protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

The agricultural sector has come under a lot of scrutiny since the launch of the report

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