The fallout from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report last week was deeply frustrating for farmers. The agricultural sector was again presented as the villain in relation to the battle against climate change. Environmental commentators were quick to latch on to the fact that agricultural emissions in Ireland in 2018 increased by 1.9% with the finger of blame firmly pointed at the growth in dairy cow numbers.

The argument totally ignores the fact that had the milk produced from the extra cows in the national herd been produced in any other part of the world, an additional 4m tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum would have been released into the atmosphere. It is an inconvenient truth for some that all the dairy products produced from this increased flow of milk were consumed in a global market where demand for dairy is increasing.