The Dealer was interested to read a letter from Devenish ruminant director Dr Morgan Sheehy in which he is scathing of the new proposals in the Nitrates Action Programme.

Writing to Devenish customers, Sheehy says that the banding of organic N per cow will have a major impact on the rural economy, small fragmented farms and the beef industry as “little is known about the quality of calves from the three proposed nitrates excretion bands.”

He asserts that cows in the higher-yielding band are 37% more feed efficient and have 17% lower greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of output than cows in the first band.

While Devenish is well-known for its interest in the environment, the letter struck The Dealer as being somewhat defensive.

After all, there aren’t too many clients of Dr Sheehy’s in the lower-yielding bands.

The letter also looks set to put Devenish on a collision course with Teagasc with whom it recently signed a public private partnership focused on demonstrating new technologies that will help farmers reach environmental targets.