Last week, Minister Eamon Ryan suggested that the 3,000 mostly dairy farmers impacted by the drop in the derogation limit should consider producing grass for anaerobic digestion (AD) instead of cows.
His thinking being that it would tick the box on reducing national cow numbers and allow farmers meet the new derogation limit.
He believes that many farmers will see this as a profitable option. We have to be crystal clear – in the next three months and perhaps the next two to three years, this simply isn’t an option as a scaled-up AD industry doesn’t exist yet.
Furthermore, he appeared to dismiss the idea of providing a long-term support scheme to kickstart the sector. As highlighted by Stephen Robb on page 55, anaerobic digestion and dairy farming can work together.