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Henry Walsh: Climate action policies will lead to food price inflation

By on November 12, 2021 0

The overhaul of the CAP from a food security program to a more environmentally oriented one was made possible by the availability of food at an affordable cost – around 10% of household income.

its abundance of food was facilitated by fertilizers, among other factors.

The EU Farm to Fork aimed to reduce fertilizer use by 20% and move towards more organic farming.

This was a manageable change through greater use of soil sampling and a more focused application schedule, as well as greater use of clover etc.

However, a curve ball has been triggered with the huge rise in gas prices. This has already pushed up electricity prices and its impact on the availability and price of fertilizers will have far greater consequences on agricultural costs and food production.

To further increase the pressure on agriculture, COP 26 was attended neither by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has the largest gas reserves on the planet, nor by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has the most large coal reserves.

All the talk in Ireland would have you believe that it is inevitable that electricity and energy are going green globally and that we are lagging behind when it comes to the climate. I am not so sure.

For a long time the United States and others have tried to impose trade sanctions on Russia, but Putin laughs at the bank as he triples gas prices and sends out calls from the “developed world” on begging to produce more gas during the transition to green energy.

COP 26 is the latest conference to focus on our farming systems and methods, without seeing ourselves too much as food producers, or the fact that there is a lot more methane entering the atmosphere due to leaks. of gas than our cattle.

All comments demand change, and much of it cuts productivity while increasing costs – even before we factor in the insane inflation around fertilizer, feed and fuel.

This will ultimately lead to food price inflation for the consumer for the first time in a long time, and could bring the conversation loop back to why the CAP was established in the first place.

The frantic search for solutions to global warming is driving actions and decisions that will impact food security and energy availability at some point in the next 18 months.

Global cooperation over the past decades has led to very effective practices, allowing us to hold modest stocks of products in stock (including food) with a “just in time” delivery strategy.

That has changed now, exacerbated by the Suez Canal and Brexit. We no longer have the same confidence in availability or delivery for a whole range of products. How long before these effects on food?

Fortunately, inside the farm there is currently relative calm before the regulations start to take effect next year and our costs skyrocket.

Production continues to decline, with the herd making 12 liters at 5.87 fat, 4.47 protein or 1.28 kg / ms.

The SCC has risen to 130, which is a bit of a concern as the dry-off period approaches.

Cows left full time with 3 kg of flour, 7 kg of DM zero grazing and 7 kg of DM of grazed grass. Farm coverage is at 666 and we plan to complete MP grazing around November 20, with the expectation that crop coverage will be close to 750 by December 1.

We dried half of the first calvings on November 5th and put them in winter block, where, with the calving heifers, they have enough grass until at least Christmas.

We sent empty and cull cows to the plant last week as we get to the point where the only farm animals for the winter will be calves.

Henry and Patricia Walsh operate a farm in Oranmore, County Galway, with their son Enda and neighbor and farm owner John Moran

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