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ITBA UPDATE: Why breeders need to be aware of climate change

By Irish Field Contributor on 05 February 2021
We can expect more heavy rainfall events in the future \ Healy Racing

David O’Connell of OCAE Consultants has details of the ITBA’s biodiversity and sustainably project

THE recent provisional audit on Irish greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) for 2019 shows a decrease in net emissions of 4.3%.

In the same report, the reduction in agriculture-related GHGs is estimated at 3.9% and is mainly due to reductions in the use of nitrogen fertiliser and lime.

Despite these welcome improvements, Ireland has fallen well behind target emissions’ reductions and agriculture accounts for the largest proportion of GHGs at 35.2%.

In addition, biodiversity levels have declined significantly at farm level with much of the loss attributed to intensive management systems.

By 2050 we now expect that temperatures will, on average, get warmer, growing seasons will become longer, the spring season will come earlier, warmer air will hold more moisture, with the latter resulting in more frequent heavy rainfall events.

These predicted changes will have a significant effect on agricultural production systems, growing conditions, and animal health and welfare that combined will mean that farmers and land managers will need to plan for strategic adaptation of current management practices.

For the equine industry, and the Irish thoroughbred sector in particular, these developments present significant challenges that need to be addressed.

The ITBA, in consultation with OCAE Consultants Ltd in Enfield, Co Meath, is exploring options for assessing the current status for Irish thoroughbred breeders and potential mitigation measures.

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