• The development of an organic farming system (OFC) based on best practices with an organice farmer pilot group, End of Project Reports, Teagasc, 1998.

      MacNaeidhe, F. S.; Murphy, W.E.; Lynch, M. B.; Codd, F. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The farming system was developed with the assistance and co-operation of ten pilot farmers during the period March 1993 to March 1997. The purpose of the project was to develop a method which would enable farmers to practice a system of farming which was sustainable and friendly towards the environment. This was achieved by way of three major objectives. These were: (A) The production of high quality and healthy pasture and livestock. (B) Development of a fertile soil and a clean environment. (C) Production of a diverse flora and attractive landscape. These objectives were achieved by the application of three basic husbandry practices which were combined in a complementary way into a single farming system. These were: (a) Multifunctional Grassland Management (MGM) to achieve objective A (b) Ecological Nutrient Management (ENM) to achieve objective B (c) Ecological Infrastructural Management (EIM) to achieve objective C. Four criteria were used to evaluate the applicability of the husbandry practices and their success. These were: (1) Is it ready for use. (2) Is it acceptable to the farmer. (3) Is it manageable for the farmer. (4) Is it effective. The investigation showed that • The use of pilot farmers is an effective method of developing practical organic farming systems and disseminating information on these systems among farmers. • Application of multifunctional grassland management (MGM) gave better health in sheep and cattle through better pasture hygiene. • Of the three basic husbandry practices which were used the advantages of ecological nutrient management (ENM) was the most easily understood and most readily applied by the farmers. • Grassland fertility was maintained by grazing and cutting in a l t e rnate years and by recycling measured amounts of farmyard manure on to silage land. • There is little or no risk of environmental pollution with the application of the farming system which was developed during the investigation. • The advantages of ecological infrastructural management (EIM) was least readily understood and applied by the pilot farmers. • The application of EIM was slower to yield positive results compared with MGM and ENM. • The presence of good hedgerow networks on most of the farms reduced the need for a strong programme of EIM.
    • The development of feeding and management strategies for milk production systems with very contrasting milk supply patterns.

      Ryan, G.; Crosse, Seamus; Fitzgerald, S. (Teagasc, 1998-01-01)
      In Experiment 1, three systems of milk production with contrasting calving patterns, namely 100% autumn (A); 100% spring (S) and 50% autumn: 50% spring (AS), were compared over a two year period. The average milk yield was 6,532, 6,358 and 6,142 kg/cow for systems A, AS and S respectively. The difference in yield was not statistically significant. Fat yield, fat content and protein yield for system S was significantly lower than those with the other two systems. The autumn-calving cows (A) had reduced reproductive performance. Experiment 2 compared grazed grass with grass silage as a forage source for autumn-calving cows in early lactation; it showed that the cows on grazed grass had significantly higher milk protein yield and milk protein content. The cows on the grass silage had significantly lower dry matter intake and a significantly higher bodyweight loss post-calving. The aim of this project was to develop low-cost systems of milk production which lead to an improved milk supply pattern of quality milk for the food industry. In particular, the objective was to research the role which grazed grass can contribute to the feed requirements of cows calving at different times during the year.
    • Development of HACCP analysis systems for beef slaughter

      Doherty, Alice M.; McEvoy, John M.; Sheridan, James J.; McGuire, Liam; O'Sullivan, Marian; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1999-01)
      The aim of this study was to establish the types and levels of bacterial contamination on beef carcasses slaughtered under commercial conditions. This information is necessary as baseline data for the implementation of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan in a meat factory. Samples were taken over a twelve month period from five carcass sites representing the fore and hind quarters of the carcass. These included the hock, bung, inside round, cranial back and brisket. The carcasses were sampled at different stages of dressing namely legging, hide removal, evisceration, carcass splitting, carcass washing and chilling (24 h later). Four meat cuts (inside round, outside round, chuck roll (cranial back) and brisket) were also sampled after boning. Counts were enumerated for the following groups of bacteria: total bacterial counts (25°C and 4°C); pseudomonad counts (25°C and 4°C); E nterobacteriaceae counts; E scherichia coli O157:H7 and L isteria spp.
    • Development of on-farm control measures for the reduction of Salmonellosis in slaughter pigs

      Lynch, P Brendan; Leonard, Nola; Egan, J.; Kozlowski, M.; Mannion, C.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The purpose of this study was to assess on-farm control measure for the reduction in the incidence of Salmonella on commercial pig units which were in Category 3 (high incidence) based on the slaughter-plant meat juice Elisa test under the national Salmonella control scheme. In Task 1, a survey was carried out on 86 pig units of known Salmonella status, 45 were in category 3 or high Category 2 (high incidence) and 41 were in Category 1 (low incidence). Information was collected on the physical facilities, location, ownership and management practices on these farms with a view to identifying risk factors associate with a high prevalence of Salmonellosis. Task 2 was the development (in conjunction with the farm owner/operator and his veterinary adviser) of control programmes for selected farms (n = 14). Farms were selected on the basis of being in Salmonella level Category 3 and the willingness of the operator to participate. Task 3 involved monitoring of the Salmonella incidence on the farms in Task 2 for a 24 month period. This involved collection of blood and faeces samples from pigs from each production stage on the unit at approximately 6-month intervals. Task 4 was an assessment of the costs to the pig industry (and individual producer) of measures associated with the Salmonella control programme. Task 5 was a study of the effect of hygiene, transport and lairage practices on Salmonella prevalence in slaughtered pigs.
    • Development of Organic Breads and Confectionery

      Gallagher, Eimear; Keehan, Denise; Butler, Francis; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/07/2005)
      In recent years, concern for the environment and consumer dissatisfaction with conventional food has led to growing interest in organic farming and food. The demand has also been fuelled by highly-publicised food scares. Food safety and genetic modification issues have led some consumers to opt for organic food as a safer alternative. Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of launches of organic bakery products in Ireland. As a result, there is an increased need to identify suitable organic bakery ingredients for use in bread and confectionery formulations. However, only a limited number of scientific studies on the physical, chemical and functional properties of organic flours and ingredients exist. The effects of commonly-used ingredients in baking, i.e. organic improvers and fats, on the baking characteristics of organic products have not yet been reported and little is known about the influence of approved additives that may be beneficial to organic baking. Arising from these gaps in the knowledge base on the use of organic flours and ingredients, the objective of this study was to evaluate the chemical, rheological and baking characteristics of white, wholemeal and confectionery organic flours and to assess the baking potential of organic bakery ingredients, in particular improvers, fats and additives. Ingredients and baked goods were compared to non-organic controls.
    • Development of organic breads and confectionery

      Gallagher, Eimear; Keehan, Denise; Butler, Francis (Teagasc, 2005-07)
      Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of launches of organic bakery products in Ireland. As a result, there is an increased need to identify suitable organic bakery ingredients for use in bread and confectionery formulations. However, only a limited number of scientific studies on the physical, chemical and functional properties of organic flours and ingredients exist. The effects of commonly-used ingredients in baking, i.e. organic improvers and fats, on the baking characteristics of organic products have not yet been reported and little is known about the influence of approved additives that may be beneficial to organic baking. Arising from these gaps in the knowledge base on the use of organic flours and ingredients, the objective of this study was to evaluate the chemical, rheological and baking characteristics of white, wholemeal and confectionery organic flours and to assess the baking potential of organic bakery ingredients, in particular improvers, fats and additives. Ingredients and baked goods were compared to non-organic controls.
    • Development of sports turf systems suitable for Irish conditions.

      MacGiolla Rí, Padraig; Canning, P.; O'Flaherty, B.; Hunter, A. (Teagasc, 1999-04-01)
      The principal objective of the study was to establish scientific data in relation to the nutritional requirements and best management practice for golf greens constructed to the United States Golf Association (USGA) 1973 specification under Irish conditions. The game of golf is one of the biggest sports industries in the world. Income from golf tourism in Ireland has increased from £73 million in 1994 to £180 million in 1998. Good quality turfgrass is required to underpin the promotion of golf tourism. Traditionally, golf greens on Irish golf courses were constructed from local materials and vary from green to green within a given golf course and also between different golf courses. In recent years there is a perception that the quality of putting surfaces is superior on greens constructed to the USGA specification. In addition, greens constructed to this specification are similar one to the other and location to location. The principal features of the USGA 1973 specification could be summarised as follows: (1) A network of drainage pipes installed in the underground soil covered with a carpet of peat gravel; (2) A blinding layer of specifically graded sand placed on the peat gravel; (3) A root zone mixture of graded sand (80%) and graded peat moss (20%) by volume. The particle size of the component layers must comply to the exact specification in terms of size, diameter and shape. As sands contain no nutrients, the management of greens constructed mainly of sand is more exacting than the traditional soil constructed greens. The results from this project confirmed this assumption. Three major objectives were researched in this project: (a) the effect of micro nutrients, when applied or omitted, on the quality and growth of grass on a green surface; (b) the encroachment of Poa annua (annual meadow grass) onto the green; and (c) the comparison of two nitrogen top dressing programmes on sand greens. The detailed results are given in the text and in the conclusions of this report.
    • Development of Sustainable low cost animal accommodation outwintering pads (OWP’s)

      Boyle, Laura; French, Padraig (Teagasc, 2008-07)
      The aims of this study were to compare three different OWP designs with cubicle housing in terms of hoof and udder health, dirtiness scores, animal behaviour and productivity. The study was conducted over the winters 2004/2005 and 2005/2006. The pad designs investigated were: Sheltered and unsheltered pads where cows were fed from a concrete apron adjacent to the woodchip lying area and an unsheltered self-feed pad where cows self-fed from a silage pit on top of the woodchip lying area. The latter design option was not included in the first year of the study. In that year the space allowance also differed between the sheltered and unsheltered pads. In the second year of the study animals in all three pad designs had the same space allowance.
    • Development of Sustainable low cost animal accommodation outwintering pads (OWP’s)

      French, Padraig; Boyle, Laura; National Development Plan (NDP) (Teagasc, 2008-07)
      The aims of this study were to compare three different OWP designs with cubicle housing in terms of hoof and udder health, dirtiness scores, animal behaviour and productivity. The study was conducted over the winters 2004/2005 and 2005/2006. The pad designs investigated were: Sheltered and unsheltered pads where cows were fed from a concrete apron adjacent to the woodchip lying area and an unsheltered self-feed pad where cows self-fed from a silage pit on top of the woodchip lying area. The latter design option was not included in the first year of the study. In that year the space allowance also differed between the sheltered and unsheltered pads. In the second year of the study animals in all three pad designs had the same space allowance.
    • The development of systems of milk production and grazing management based on low stocking rates and very low artificial nitrogen inputs.

      Humphreys, James; Lawless, Aidan; O'Connell, K.; Darmody, Pat (Teagasc, 2004-01-01)
      There is increasing pressure on to reduce nitrogen (N) inputs to agricultural production systems within the European Union. This three-year experiment examined the impact of lowering N-input/ha on milk output, carrying capacity and N losses. In Ireland, a dairy cow is classified as excreting 85 kg organic N per year. There were four treatments involving annual stocking rates and fertilizer N inputs as follows: (1) 2.5 cows/ha & 350 kg/ha (Intensive), (2) 2.5 cows/ha & 250 kg/ha (Moderate), (3) 2.1 cows/ha & 175 kg/ha (Extensive) and (4) 1.75 cows/ha & 80 kg/ha (Minimal). Swards were initially composed predominantly of perennial ryegrass and contained white clover. The primary aim was to supply sufficient pasture to meet the feed requirements of the lactating cows during the main grazing season. Subject to meeting this requirement the objective was to produce enough grass to meet winter-feed requirements as grass-silage. Production of grasssilage was indicative of carrying capacity. There were 18 cows per treatment each year. Concentrates fed were 595 kg/cow/year. There were no significant differences in yields (mean ± SEM kg/cow/year) of solids-corrected milk (6210 ± 97), fat (263 ± 4.4), protein (225 ± 3.3) and lactose (301 ± 5.2) between treatments combined over years. Silage production was sufficient to meet winter-feed requirements (i.e. 1.40 t DM/cow) on all treatments except Moderate, which was 0.87 of requirement. Measurement of soil mineral N concentrations indicated largest losses from Intensive during the winter. However, measurement of nitrate N in drainage water during the winter indicated low concentrations (mg/litre) from all treatments; 2.4 from Intensive, 2.0 from Mininal, 0.9 from Moderate and 0.9 from Extensive. The comparably high mean concentrations associated with Minimal were attributed to the high proportion of white clover in these swards and the breakdown of clover stolon releasing mineral N into the soil during the winter months. The main findings were: (1) No difference in milk output per cow even under low fertilizer N inputs (2) A relationship between requirement for fertiliser N and stocking rate along the line: Fertilizer N req. = (SR x 300) – (300 + background-N) Where SR is stocking rate in cows per ha and background N is the release of N from net mineralization of soil organic matter N. The average value for background-N is around 130 kg/ha. (3) Very high levels of productivity from grass + white clover swards receiving 80 kg N/ha/year with around 80% of the carrying capacity of the Intensive treatment. (4) Very low losses of nitrate-N in drainage water under organic N loads of up to 300 kg/ha. Losses of nitrate-N in drainage water accounted for less than 5% of N losses in the experiment except on the clover-system. It is likely that denitrification and losses of di-nitrogen (N2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) gasses were the main pathways for loss. This is consistent with the heavy wet imperfectly drained soils, high rainfall, intermittent soil saturation and the mild conditions experienced at Solohead.
    • Development of Technologies for Separation and Functional Improvement of Individual Milk Protein Fractions

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Fitzgerald, Richard J.; Donnelly, W.J.; O'Connor, Paula M. (Teagasc, 1999-02-01)
      Milk proteins can be hydrolysed (i.e. fragmented) using proteolytic enzymes to give enhanced functional and nutritional properties. There is an increasing demand for hydrolysed protein ingredients with specific properties for nutrition of individuals with specialised dietary requirements including infants, the critically ill, the immuno-compromised and athletes. Such hydrolysed proteins can be specifically designed to provide distinctive tailor-made solutions to meet customer needs in these areas. This project explored the technologies for the production of two types of hydrolysates i.e. acid-soluble and glutamine-rich. Acid-soluble protein hydrolysates have potential in the fortification of acidic beverages, including soft drinks. Glutamine-rich hydrolysates are suggested as an optimal glutamine source for administration during periods of stress, such as recovery from strenuous exercise, or from surgery. Casein was selected as the protein for development of acid-soluble product and cereal protein for the glutamine-rich product. The main conclusions were as follows: A number of protein hydrolysate products with value added properties and the processes required for their manufacture have been developed and are available for uptake by the food industry. Laboratory investigations identified conditions for the generation of two casein hydrolysates with desirable functional properties. Scale-up conditions for the manufacture of these hydrolysates in the pilot plant were successfully developed. Both hydrolystates were 100% soluble at pH 4.6, exhibited clarity in solution at low pH in clear soft drinks and in caramelised beverages and were stable in solution over a wide temperature range (from 4 to 30ºC) for extended periods. Solutions containing these hydrolysates exhibited no foaming properties and had acceptable sensory properties, being considered as weakly bitter compared to unsupplemented solutions. These performance characteristics make the acid-soluble hydrolysates useful supplements for caramelised beverages, such as colas, and clear soft drinks. Six glutamine-enriched peptide products were produced at laboratory scale using two commercially available enzyme preparations. These products had desirable characteristics such as increased levels of peptide bound glutamine, low free amino acid and free pyroglutamate levels. Pilot plant processes were developed for manufacture of the two glutamine-rich hydrolysates with most suitable compositional properties and these were fully characterised chemically. The manufacturing process was modified to enable industrial scale batches (5,000 litres) to be produced.
    • Development of value-added beef products

      Desmond, Eoin; Troy, Declan J.; Kenny, Tony; McDonagh, Ciara; Ward, Patrick (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This work investigated technologies to improve the functionality of beef, particularly low-value beef to increase its versatility for the development of value-added restructured and emulsion type beef products. More specifically the project objectives were (1) to increase the functionality of beef; (2) to develop innovative beef products; (3) to increase the use of low-value carcass cuts as a functional ingredient in beef products. The research was carried out in three stages: solubilisation of connective tissue components of beef using organic acids, application of proteases to beef model systems to increase functionality, and physical disruption of connective tissue in beef by mechanical treatments such as needle and blade tenderising, tumbling and massaging.
    • Development Programmes and Policy Measures in the Western Countries

      McDonagh, Perpetua; Commins, Patrick; Leavy, Anthony (Teagasc, 1999-08-01)
      This report compares the 11 western counties (Connacht, Ulster, and counties Longford, Clare and Kerry) with the 15 other counties, in aggregate, as regards the effectiveness of various policies and programme measures in reaching their target populations.
    • Digital Soil Information System for Ireland – Scoping Study

      Daly, Karen M.; Fealy, Reamonn (Teagasc, 2007-09-01)
      In light of the demands for soil protection on a regional basis, there is a need to support policy with a harmonised soil information system in order to maintain a sustainable agro–environmental economy and fulfil policy requirements at national and European levels. In Ireland, soil data exist in variable forms and complete coverage at 1:250,000 – the target scale identified at European level – does not exist. The terms of reference for this scoping study were to investigate the feasibility of producing a 1:250,000 digital soil map and to consider a specification for a digital soil information system which would serve as the framework technology underpinning the 1:250,000 map. The approach included reviewing procedures and mapping methods proposed at European level, a review of soil information systems from around the world, a review of existing Irish soil data, and an expert consultation exercise with national and international soil experts.
    • Direct Payment Measures, competitiveness, farm and rural area viability.

      Frawley, J.P.; Keeney, Mary (Teagasc, 1999-08-01)
      Direct payments are recurring non-market transfers to farmers whether they are production related or not. There are three main types: (a) compensatory allowances (headage), (b) premia and (c) agri-environmental payments. In 1998 total payments amounted to £967.3 million, up from £158.4 million in 1992. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of these payments in maintaining farm units, their implications for farm efficiency and competitiveness and their impact on sustaining viable farm units and rural areas. Data from the National Farm Survey shows the average level of payment was £6,670 in 1997 but varied substantially by farm size. For instance, farms over 100 ha on average received £28,207 in contrast with £3,305 for farms between 10 and 20 ha. Similarly, the distribution of payments by different farm systems shows considerable variation with tillage farmers receiving £15,760 and cattle farms receiving less than £6,000. The most significant feature, however, is the extent of the dependency of farm incomes on direct payments. For instance, on tillage and drystock farms these payments represented close to, or even exceeded the family farm income earned. This means that the income from sales are just about sufficient to cover the costs of production; the cheque in the post being the farm income. Without direct payments large segments of the farm population would operate at a loss; a situation which obviously could not be sustained. The impact of direct payments on farm efficiency and competitiveness is not so clear cut. Analysis of 1996 NFS data shows that the response on cattle farms to increased levels of direct payments was to reduce farm output. However, in terms of farm practice the dominant response was to increase stock numbers and farm inputs, such as feed and fertiliser. This latter response can be taken as adjustments to ensure sufficient stock numbers to maximise the level of payments and not necessarily a contradiction of reduced output responses. For instance the dominant anticipated response to a decoupled payment system is a reduction in farm inputs and stock numbers, a response associated with the more progressive sector of farmers. Notwithstanding the present level of these payments it is clear that the viability of farm units on most small to medium-sized drystock farms can not be assured in a farm context only. Increasingly farmers and their spouses are opting for off-farm employment to supplement their household incomes and to sustain the viability of the family farm unit. Ultimately the optimum use of family labour which is marginal or surplus to farm activities, is deployment off the farm; this clearly has a positive influence on the viability of rural areas.
    • Diversifying Marine-Based Employment Opportunities in Peripheral Communities

      Heanue, Kevin; European Commission (Teagasc, 01/01/2009)
      This project was a development project connected to an INTERREG sub-programme called the Northern Periphery Programme (NPP). More specifically, this project was funded as an NPP Preparatory Project. The aim of such NPP Preparatory Projects is to facilitate the development of a transnational consortium that may produce an application to the NPP for a main project. Such a main project application will not directly ensue from this Preparatory Project, although it may do so in the future. Nevertheless, there are tangible immediate returns to Teagasc from this Preparatory Project that include 1) the opportunity, if considered appropriate, for Teagasc to join an existing NPP main project in 2011 that promotes a new mechanism to support rural enterprise such as food and tourism in the form of the Economusuem® concept and 2) the establishment of new international and national academic and agency contacts working in the area of local development.
    • Early Lamb Production Systems

      Flanagan, S. (Teagasc, 1999-03-01)
      A number of feeding and management options for early lambing flocks were evaluated at the Knockbeg Sheep Unit, Carlow. Results and recommendations for on-farm adoption are summarised in this report. The ultimate objective was to develop cost-effective early lamb production systems in synchrony with the high price season from late March to early May. Studies were focused on the two main phases of lamb growth. Firstly, the period from birth to 6 weeks of age which coincides with the critical period of lamb survival and peak lactation in the ewe and, secondly, the finishing stage from 6 weeks until slaughter. Flock size was 230 to 250 ewes sponged in July/August for lambing in January and managed on 12.6 ha of grass and forage. The results provide options in feeding and management for programmed lamb production in synchrony with early season prices. The production technologies are effective, e.g. out-of-season breeding, grass utilisation, planned schedules for achieving high levels of feed intake and lamb performance, drafting procedures for selecting high quality lambs (Fat class 3, Conformation classes U and R). On-farm planning for feeding, housing and labour is essential.
    • Easy Feeding of Housed Sheep.

      Flanagan, S. (Teagasc, 2002-06-01)
      In recent years sheep producers have emphasised the amount of labour required for managing sheep enterprises. In particular, the winter management of the flock during the past 25 years has been concentrated on silage, housing and associated labour inputs. One approach to reducing dependence on silage is the practice of extended grazing. On intensively stocked farms, however, the scope for this practice is limited. An alternative approach is the use of complete concentrate diets as substitutes for silage. A trial was conducted at the Knockbeg Sheep unit, Carlow for the purpose of examining the feasibility of feeding complete concentrate diets to ewes housed during late pregnancy and early lactation. A flock of ewes managed for lambing in January was divided into three groups at time of housing in November, each allocated to one of three diets: silage ad libitum plus concentrate supplements, a cereal-based loose mix concentrate or a pelleted concentrate diet. Levels of feeding offered in late pregnancy and early lactation were calculated to satisfy the energy requirements of 70 kg twin-bearing ewes. In addition to the dietary comparisons for ewes the resulting lamb crop provided the opportunity to compare two feeding systems for finishing, namely, early weaning onto grazed grass plus creep feed and early weaning onto a complete concentrate diet. Results on the components of ewe productivity, i.e. litter size, lamb survival rate and number of lambs reared, were similar on all three diets. Lamb birth weight was significantly heavier (0.4 to 0.6 kg) in the progeny of ewes offered the complete concentrate diets compared with the progeny of ewes offered silage. Nevertheless, the birth weight resulting from the ewes fed the silage diet was similar to results in previous years and, as a consequence, was considered satisfactory. Growth rate to 5 weeks of age in the progeny of the ewes offered the concentrate diets was relatively low due to an outbreak of pasteurellosis. Following recovery, compensatory growth was evident from 5 weeks to sale with the effect that the progeny of the three ewe diets were finished for slaughter at similar weights and ages. Ewes offered the complete concentrate diets increased significantly in liveweight and most of the increase was observed in ewes rearing singles. It is recommended that when feeding complete concentrate diets to ewes during late pregnancy and early lactation, single and twin bearing ewes should be accommodated separately and offered concentrate allowances appropriate to their requirements. Labour demand for feeding was highest on the silage diet and lowest for the pelleted formulation. Labour demand for feeding silage and concentrate supplements can be halved by using a pelleted concentrate diet. At 2001 prices the difference in costs between the silage and loose mix concentrate diets was small. When this factor is combined with reduced labour demand, it is considered that loose concentrate mixes offer an attractive alternative to silage feeding. There was no evidence in favour of early weaning of lambs onto grazed grass plus creep feed compared with the conventional system of early weaning indoor onto complete concentrate diets.
    • An Econometric Model of Irish Beef Exports

      Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      This report summarizes research that the author undertook as part of his doctoral studies in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri- Columbia.† The policy environment within which the Irish beef sector operates is changing such that the demand for Irish beef will increasingly be of a market rather than a policy determined nature. This changing environment makes knowledge concerning the demand for Irish beef important to understanding the economic prospects of the sector. The objectives of this research were thus two fold. The first objective was to investigate the demand for Irish beef in the UK. The second objective relates to how such consumer demand models are econometrically estimated. The empirical results show that the demand for beef in general in the UK is not price elastic and that the demand for Irish beef in the UK is price inelastic. The expenditure elasticity of demand for beef in the UK is also inelastic. The implications of this result for the Irish beef industry are as follows Decreases in the price of beef in the UK will not lead to large increases in British demand for beef. Increases in expenditure on meats will see expenditure on beef increase but to a lesser extent than other meats. Increases in the price of Irish beef relative to the prices of other beef products on the UK market will not lead to a large decrease in the market share of Irish beef. The relative insensitivity of demand for Irish beef in the UK to changes in its relative price also implies that attempts to increase the Irish share of the UK beef market will require very large reductions in the price of Irish beef. Given the current dependence of the Irish beef industry on subsidized exports to non-EU markets, the results of this research imply that attempts to re-orientate the Irish industry more towards servicing EU beef markets will require either large price decreases, with the consequent impacts on the market based revenue of the Irish beef industry and farmers, or alternatively, a movement towards the production of beef products that appeal to the non-price concerns of EU consumers and away from the production of a commodity product.
    • Econometric modelling of the EU agri-food sector through co-operation with partners in the EU-AG-MEMOD Project

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Riordan, Brendan (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
      This research project set out to build an EU agricultural policy modelling system involving participants from right across the enlarged EU. Policy Analysis is conducted at an aggregate commodity level for the main sectors of EU agriculture. The work summarised here took place over the period 2001 to 2004. The implementation of the Luxembourg Agreement and the Enlargement of the EU will lead to significant changes to the way in which agriculture operates in the EU25. Under the reform, direct payments that have been linked to production are to be decoupled to varying degrees across the Union. Enlargement will mean that agriculture in several New Member States (NMS) will come under the EU system of payments, supply constraints and market price supports for the first time. In light of the above, the most common current approach to agriculture commodity modelling and policy analysis - that which treats the entire EU as a single entity - faces a considerable challenge. Given the heterogeneity of EU agriculture and agricultural policy across the enlarged EU, it is increasingly the case that ‘the devil is in the detail’. From a scientific perspective, country level policy analysis is important in order to capture the consequences of this heterogeneity. Moreover, at a political level, policy makers realise that policy proposals either sink or swim on the basis of the perception of their expected future impact at a national level. Hence, it is important to be able to inform and facilitate a debate on the relative merits of particular reform proposals by having national (or even sub-national) level analysis to hand. The case for national level modelling across the EU is easily made, but few practitioners have taken up the challenge it presents.i Key problems include funding constraints, the absence of reliable national data sources, difficulties in agreeing and co-ordinating a consistent modelling approach and, perhaps most importantly, the absence of an integrated network of economists with knowledge of local level agriculture and agricultural policy across the enlarged EU.