Knowledge for better food systems

Change in the air - the English Beef and Sheep Production Roadmap - Phase 1

The English Beef and Lamb Executive have published their roadmap, setting out how they can reduce the GHG and other environmental impacts of their industry and how they can promote the positives.
The English Beef and Lamb Executive have published their roadmap, setting out how they can reduce the GHG and other environmental impacts of their industry and how they can promote the positives. This roadmap just published is the first of two - this one deals specifically with GHG emissions while the second roadmap, which will be published in 2010, will look at other environmental challenges including water, carbon sequestration, land use and biodiversity. The focus is on England but the roadmap should be replicable in other parts of the UK. The report begins by outlining current beef and farming systems and associated land use in the UK. For example in the case of beef, it shows what percentage of the overall beef produced comes from lowland suckler herds, from upland herds and from dairy herds. Sheep are divided into hill, upland and lowland flocks. It says that forecasts suggest that both the the UK suckler and dairy herds will continue to decline in the coming decade due to a combination of factors, the most important of which is the decoupling of support payments. Other factors include competition with more profitable enterprises in the lowlands, major problems in securing labour, and fewer family successions. The same is largely true for sheep flocks. It says that in coming years, the key challenge facing many hill and upland areas in the future is likely to be maintaining sufficient grazing animals to meet their landscape management objectives, rather than to prevent over-stocking.

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