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Sustainable Efficient Production and Quality Assurance


Anne O’Malley, Farm Food Business and Drystock Advisor, Teagasc Ballina discusses the various quality assurance schemes operated by Bord Bia for the farming sector, the Teagasc input and she explains the Farm sustainability feedback report and farm carbon footprints here

The Carbon Navigator (CN)

The Carbon Navigator (CN) was developed by Teagasc and Bord Bia as an online advisory tool at farm level to support the roll out of Origin Green in 2012. The Carbon Navigator (CN) was designed to help farmers engage and adopt practical measures to improve farm efficiency and animal performance while at the same time enhancing environmental performance and reducing carbon footprint.

The carbon navigator is one of the requirement for farmers who are currently in the Beef Data Genomics Programmes (BDGP). Farmers must submit data annually online with focus on longer grazing season, nitrogen and feed use efficiency and slurry management. Animal performance efficiency target information such as age at first calving, calves per cow per year and live weight performance data is collected on Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Animal Identification and Movements (AIMs) database. There is a constant flow of data into and out of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) database to allow farmers and industry access to up to date information on genetic gain and animal performance efficiency at farm level.

Bord Bia quality assurance schemes

Bord Bia operates a series of quality assurance schemes and standards for both primary producers and processors of beef, lamb, dairy, pig, poultry, egg and horticulture sectors. Meat Processor Quality Assurance Scheme (MPQAS) is voluntary and open to all abattoirs, meat processors and meat packers that are approved and/or licensed in accordance with relevant National and/or EU regulations.

Sustainable Beef & Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) is voluntary and open to producers who have a valid herd number. In order to become a certified member of the SBLAS the herd/farm must undergo an audit and be found compliant with the requirements of the SBLAS standard.

Please find link with details of the SBLAS and scheme documents including sustainability survey: Bord Bia: Sustainable Beef & Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS)

The Farm Sustainability Survey

The Farm Sustainability Survey was introduced by Bord Bia in 2011 to assess sustainability of quality assurance scheme members. The two main components of the SBLAS are sustainability and quality assurance. There is increasing demand from purchasers of Irish meat products for proof that the meat is produced sustainably on farms that are certified members of an accredited quality assurance scheme. Please find link with details of the current SBLAS sustainability survey: https://www.bordbia.ie/farmers-growers/prices-markets/agri-market-insights/the-bord-bia-sustainability-survey/

The Bord Bia Farm Sustainability Survey can be completed in advance of audit using the paper form or online at the members producers page link at: Bord Bia Once a farm is certified, a farmer feedback report is generated and dispatched to the farmer, typically within one week of certification. The report can also be downloaded from the producer page using your herd number and PIN.

Farm sustainability feedback report provides information and advice to certified farmers, including, Production Efficiencies, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG), Carbon Footprint, Nutrient Management, Grassland Management and Safety Aspects. Data is collected and analysed from all available sources including audit data, survey data, AIMs data, ICBF data and dairy processor data for members of the Dairy Sustainable Assurance Scheme (SDAS).

The beef carbon footprint is generated and is the ratio of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to total outputs of the farm enterprise (kg CO2 equivalent/Kg Live Weight Gain).

The dairy carbon footprint is expressed as kg CO2 equivalent/ kg Fat and Protein Corrected Milk. Bord Bia uses a beef and dairy carbon footprint model to calculate a farm’s carbon footprint. Both of these models have been developed with Teagasc and are accredited by the Carbon Trust to its PAS 2050 Standard. There is a lot of research and development ongoing in this area and there will be future changes and updates on sustainability and quality assurance requirements at farm level.

Teagasc Advisors write regular articles of interest to farmers here on Teagasc Daily.  Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. Find your local Teagasc office here