More beef will be eaten in 2050 as “common sense will prevail”, says ABP sustainability manager Stephen Connolly.
On the strength of campaigns promoting a vegan diet, he said that while we “hear a lot about it”, there is very little real impact.
“If you look at the data, especially by 2050, there’s going to be more eaten, so there is going to be more markets. Maybe people will eat a little bit less, but some other poorer countries are potentially going to be able to afford that."
The ABP representative was speaking at a Teagasc Signpost webinar on Friday.
Connolly argued that beef will continue to have a place in a balanced diet.
“Beef will be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet and also dairy and beef - it does feed into other food products, such as the bread that you eat and your cereal. The farmyard manure fertilises those crops.
“If you look at the Green Deal, they’re targeting 20% less fertiliser [use] in Europe. Without animals, we’re going to have to supply more fertiliser, so I think it’s all a balance,” he said.
The ABP sustainability manager also responded to questions on the role organic farming will have in meeting agriculture’s climate targets.
He described how ABP is the largest processor of organic beef through Good Herdsman.
“There’s massive scope there to increase it and looking at national policy to go from 75,000ha to 450,000ha, it’s definitely going to play a role.
“Bord Bia and ourselves are looking at where we can market that beef. There’s huge potential there for beef and lamb.
“For ourselves, we can learn from our organic production systems in terms of red clover and how they feed the cattle. There are pieces we can take from that and bring to conventional as well,” Connolly concluded.