Native Breeds Aid Green Drive

THE Limousin Cattle Society’s unwarranted criticism of Waitrose’s move to stock more native breed beef (Farmers Guardian letters, September 1) seems to be based on the Greenbreed project, an ongoing Irish initiative aimed at providing farmers with an estimate of the expected methane emitted from an individual animal.

This is an important project which could help identify high emitting animals, informing breeding decisions within a herd.

However, the project’s focus is not at the breed level. We have known for some time that there is very little difference between breeds when it comes to emissions, and that significant differences appear between individual animals: siblings can produce very different levels.

Emissions from an individual are of course only one element of the overall sustainability picture.

Responsible retailers - and farmers - should be looking at a range of factors including the use of pasture-based diets with pastures and soils that contribute to carbon sequestration, the value of conservation grazing, and maintaining high health and welfare standards.

These sustainability positives are much easier with native breeds that were bred to thrive in our landscapes, climate and altitudes.

Waitrose is showing laudable leadership with its increased focus on Native Breeds, not only recognising their environmental credentials and important contribution to sustainable farming, but also giving consumers access to these breeds’ wonderful range of flavours and textures. The commercial appeal of farming with native breeds becomes more compelling day by day.

Christopher Price
Chief Executive
Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Article from - Farmers Guardian, September 22nd 2023 (Page 11- Letters to the editor)