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Cow flow: ‘You have to look through the eyes of a cow’

Food Manufacturing Agriland.ie

Since the abolishment of quotas the national herd has increased.But, while there are greater numbers of cows on farms, infrastructure on some farms has remained the same.
'Since the abolishment of quotas the national herd has increased.But, while there are greater numbers of cows on farms, infrastructure on some farms has remained the same.During one of the Farm Relief Services (FRS) Smarter Milking events, Jim Dockery – a training manager with FRS – discussed cow flow and what the host farmer, Michael Broderick, has done to improve this on his farm.Kicking off the discussion, he said: “If I asked you to go out to the field and crawl back in here, you would be looking through the eyes of a cow.These are the eyes we need to look through when we are thinking about cow flow. “In the past, the parlour and buildings were located in the most convenient place for the farmer, but they may not have been in the most convenient place for the cows.” Micheal’s farm is well set up for the efficient movement of his cows into and out of the yard for milking.The collecting yard is circular in shape with a 10m wide backing gate. “The cows enter the yard and they are all facing the right way – towards the back of the parlour.If the cows aren’t facing the right way a lot of churning goes on, which can put pressure on the first and second calvers. “If the cow doesn’t have a positive experience in the yard each day it will show in the milk,” Jim added.The farm pass entering the back of the collecting yard is wide – approximately 7-8m in width.It also has a large rounded bend approaching the collecting yard. “Take note of the width of the pass entering the back of collecting yard; it is wide enough for eight-to-10 cows. “See how the bend approaching the yard is rounded; cows don’t like sharp bends and a sharp bend can affect cow flow,” explained Jim.Jim also mentioned the issues when cows come to a “catch point” between the roadway and the concrete yard. “You need to be aware that there is no give in concrete.If the cow steps on that and there are small sharp stones there, it is going to end up in her hoof; so, it is really important to keep it clean,” he stated.Turning to the exit from the parlour, he said: “Once the cow exits the parlour she is facing towards the green fields. “Remember, when the cow exits the parlour, all she wants to do is get back to the paddock and fill herself with grass again; so she needs to be able to flow back to the paddock easily.” The drafting unit on Micheal’s farm is located beside the parlour and is facing straight towards the farm roadway. . The post Cow flow: ‘You have to look through the eyes of a cow’ appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

‘Farmers have been curtailed into only producing food’

Food Manufacturing Agriland.ie

Farmers in Ireland have been curtailed into just producing food over the last 50 years and now we’re really looking at going back into producing other materials.This is according to the Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA’s) technical executive, Noel
'Farmers in Ireland have been curtailed into just producing food over the last 50 years and now we’re really looking at going back into producing other materials.This is according to the Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA’s) technical executive, Noel Gavigan.Speaking to AgriLand at the launch of a joint policy document calling for a biogas support scheme – titled ‘Mobilising an Irish Biogas Industry with Policy and Action’ – Gavigan said: “We have to look at where farming has been over the last century.Farming used to have to produce all of the food, fibre and the transport.And not only did farmers produce the transport fuel, they also produced the vehicle – the horse. “Farmers were the Volkswagen and the Shell all in one as well as producing food and fibre and there is huge potential for farms to produce a lot more material rather than just food.” “There is huge potential with the bioeconimy and the circular economy looking at how much more we can produce. “Plastics is now causing a lot of problems and for us to go back into them spaces and producing insulations, base chemicals and pharmaceuticals.There is huge potential for farming.” The bioeconomy sector is not looking to compete with normal farming, it’s to complement what’s on farms at the moment.The document that was launched today addresses the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action’s call for a strategy to be developed for anaerobic digestion and also the Government Climate Action Plan action on biomethane injection. . The post ‘Farmers have been curtailed into only producing food’ appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Opinion: ‘The meat denomination fight is a fight for consumers and for a more creative vegan industry’

Food Manufacturing Inside Ireland


'Earlier in 2019, the animal charity PETA announced ‘it’s a great time to eat vegan’ as there ‘are more plant-based meat options than ever before, and they’re available everywhere’. As well as products like ‘Beyond Beef’, there are also, for example,  ‘Chik’n Nuggets’ which the packaging says is ‘100% plant-based and still tastes like chicken’. In April this year, Applegreen became the first location in Ireland to launch an Irish-made ready-to-eat vegan sausage roll.Is this labelling providing an appropriate alternative to vegans and vegetarians of well-known products, or is this demeaning established meat and dairy industry products?In this Opinion piece, Annette Toft, from the umbrella group of European farming unions, argues that the meat denomination fight is not a fight against anything, but a ‘fight for consumers, for the preservation of traditional denominations and a fight for a more creative vegetarian and vegan industry’. Beyond meat denominations – 3 reasons to support the attempt to clarify the marketing of plant-based imitation products OP-ED by Annette Toft Hereford Bull farmed in Ireland (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) Plant-based imitations of meat and dairy products are currently on the rise in Europe and, according to their promoters, aim to become mainstream.However, as farmer and food producers, we know that with becoming mainstream comes great responsibility.This is why a debate on the use of meat and dairy denominations for plant-based imitations, such as vegan sausage or soya milk, has escalated in recent years, pushing national as well as European authorities to set rules to regulate this market.For more than 30 years, there has been legal protection for dairy terms to ensure that consumers are not misled when it comes to dairy products’ characteristics related to their natural composition.Just before the European election, MEPs decided to propose an amendment to protect meat denominations in the framework of the future CAP.This also follows a previous European Court of Justice judgement from 2017 that reconfirmed the protection of milk and dairy denominations[1]. Fundamental questions about consumer information From a distance, I can understand that these controversies can seem like an outmoded, rearguard debate in which traditional producers hold the conservative seat.However, when you take a closer look at the merits of the debate, plant-based imitations raise fundamental questions about consumer information, our cultural heritage and the power of modern marketing, which blithely mixes business and values.It will always be in farmers’ and Cooperatives’ DNA to meet market demand and satisfy consumer aspirations.We will produce the type of proteins that are requested, whether they are sourced from plants or animals.Fair and consistent marketing Protein-rich plants, provided that they are sourced in Europe, also present us with opportunities.We respect both consumers and the industry that is growing around meat imitations.However, as primary producers, we want fair and consistent marketing that respects consumers and the work carried out by generations of farmers.This is why there are at least three main reasons to support the protection of meat denominations: 1) Avoid misinformation – With urbanisation, consumers now have limited knowledge of farming production processes.At the same time, they are more interested to know the origin, the footprint or the welfare standard of the product that they consume.In this context, the marketing of imitations can give rise to misunderstandings or misconceptions.Substitution is a powerful marketing concept that can reassure consumers that they are simply replacing a product with another.However, substituting has many dimensions and cannot be considered to be neutral from a nutritional point of view.Fresh, pasteurised milk (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) A plant-based drink or a plant-based sausage, even if it resembles the colour and texture of its original counterpart, does not guarantee the same nutritional intake.According to a study conducted in France on consumers’ perception of plant-based drinks, it was proven that six in ten people believe that plant-based drinks can replace milk in terms of nutrition.What is even worse, one in five French people state that plant-based drinks are sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of babies[2]! In the past, when vegan products represented a niche market and people had to go to specialised shops to find alternative products, this issue was not a cause for a concern.By becoming more mainstream, supply has boomed and traditional retailers have opened their shelves to plant-based imitations and are displaying original and imitation products closer to one another.According to a study conducted recently in the UK, one in five vegan and vegetarian consumers gave up being vegan or vegetarian because food labels were just too confusing[3]. In this context, using concepts and cultural elements from the meat/milk cuisine is no help.Investing in marketing that could create a truly alternative culture with plant-based flagship recipes is a more sustainable and ambitious avenue to explore. 2) Avoid cultural hijacking – Meat and milk denominations are deeply rooted in our cultural heritage.Butter, Cheese, Milk, Bacon, Ham, Carpaccio, Steak, Filet, Chops and Salami are all traditional denominations that have been shaped over time.Sausages, cooked ham and mince beef (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) No one today needs to explain what these products are or what to expect when buying them.This is also why these denominations have never needed protection up until now.If we protected our local and regional heritage with Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) and Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs) we should be consistent and also protect this for more common goods.This common heritage is now at stake due to the boom in marketing of similar products.The industry of imitations has somehow been taking advantage of a European loophole and hijacking these powerful common denominations for their own gain.MEPs and national governments have decided to act and the European Court of Justice has released its ruling in order to close this loophole.We can only respect this willingness to protect common goods. 3) Be creative, be fair – The plant-based imitation sector is claiming to be creative and trendy.The European Court of Justice made the decision on the interpretation of the legal provisions protecting dairy terms (Pic: InsideIreland.ie) The European Court of Justice’s decision on the interpretation of the legal provisions protecting dairy terms and MEPs’ willingness to draw up rules on meat denominations should not be considered by these new industries as an attack but rather as an opportunity.An opportunity to create new denominations, to gain consumer’s recognition and to achieve financial success.If the imitation lobby considers that meat denominations “convey important information such as texture or taste”, I am convinced that many concepts and puns could successfully reflect such meaningful information on the final product.Developing a multitude of creative marketing concepts and products that do not copy existing meat/milk products is also a way to resolve the plant-based imitation industry’s fundamental paradox.An industry striving to become mainstream does not need to mimic existing products.Fight In my opinion, the meat denomination fight is not a fight against but a fight for.A fight for consumers, for the preservation of traditional denominations and a fight for a more creative vegetarian and vegan industry.As farmers and agri-cooperatives, we provide the possibility to have a nutritious, balanced and diversified diet, which should include both plant-based and animal-based products, as highlighted in all nutritional recommendations.Annette Toft, Chairwoman of Copa-Cogeca Working Party on Foodstuffs Director of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council in Brussels [1]   https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2017-06/cp170063en.pdf [2]   http://www.agra.fr/lait-et-boissons-v-g-tales-le-cniel-alerte-sur-les-risques-de-confusion-art446516-6.html [3]   https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/15/vegetarians-and-vegans-are-accidentally-eating-animal-products-because-of-unclear-labels-8038565/?ito=cbshare (Please note InsideIreland.ie is not responsible for the content of external websites) The views expressed in our opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of InsideIreland.ie.Submissions for an op ed can be made to pr@insideireland.ie. . The post Opinion: ‘The meat denomination fight is a fight for consumers and for a more creative vegan industry’ appeared first on Inside Ireland .'