Despite our pasture-based grass fed livestock system, Ireland still faces a problem feeding its farmed animals. Millions of tonnes of feed is imported every year for cattle, while the demand from poultry and pig farms - with large indoor shed units - is on the rise.
This investigation was part-funded through crowdfunding (€1,185 of the proposed €1,740). Coming into the winter months soon when livestock will be eating more feed, we decided to go ahead with the investigation with additional support from our investigative fund.
The importation of animal feed came to prominence during the Ukraine war as grain was blocked from leaving Europe’s breadbasket, leading the State to support farmers to grow extra tillage crops to try and make up some of the shortfall.
Arable crops grown in Ireland only meet 35% of our national need. We are still heavily reliant on imported feed for protein from soya and maize grains, much of which comes from South America where production has been criticised for its climate and environmental impact.
HELP US INVESTIGATE
Through this data-driven project, we want to quantify how much animal feed we are importing, where it is coming from and which livestock sectors are taking in the most feed.
We also want to speak to farming and climate experts about this need for imports as well as the carbon footprint created.
If you want to make a contribution to help this investigation happen, click the 'Fund This Proposal' button. Noteworthy investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.