Viewpoint: Irish farmers’ reliance on GMO livestock feed make biotech-free future unlikely

cattleFeeding large

The idea of a GM-free Ireland is rising on the agenda. To date, the debate has been about using GM technology on farm but, increasingly, it is being driven by consumer demand for GM-free foods…With its grass-fed focus, is this an opportunity for the Irish farming and food sectors?

In total, livestock feed imports in 2016 were about 3.7 million tonnes or over 60% of a total feed use of approximately six million tonnes.

From a GM-free animal-feeds sourcing perspective, the biggest issue is GM soybean meal and the feasibility of substituting it with other non-GM protein meals. And there are also other imports of food-industry by-products from the Americas that would require verifying as GM-free.

Among the country’s dairy herds, there are also those that use far more meal than their lower-yielding, grass-based counterparts. It is complex and maybe a GM-free Ireland is, at least in the short-term, a bridge too far. At present, more research and investigation needs to be done and a practicable strategy developed from there.

In the short term, it maybe be better to determine how to support the development of GM-free sub-sectors and individual products.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Opinion: Can Irish farming go GMO Free?

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