The overly simplistic narrative of just cutting beef numbers to solve one problem won’t work when it comes to emissions as it will create further problems, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told those in attendance at BEEF 2022 in Teagasc Grange this week.

“The reality is that we have a complex situation to manage emissions within the sector.

“This will require a range of measures, new management practices, as well as emerging technologies,” he said.

On the dairy versus beef debate, he said: “We recognise that dairy farmers have been obtaining strong returns from the market in recent years and many beef farmers chose to convert to this sector given their land type and circumstances. While not without its own risks, the move has worked for many farmers but that doesn’t mean that I or the Government will turn our back on beef and suckler farmers.

“When I hear of people arguing for the reduction of the beef herd, as some sort of sacrificial lamb, to meet our ambitious and challenging climate targets – it angers me,” he said.