Established in 1954, ABP Food Group is a global food producer supplying high quality beef and lamb for the retail, foodservice, and production sectors, from 53 operating sites across nine countries. As one of Europe’s largest privately owned agri-food businesses we work with a network of over 45,000 farmers, across Europe.
As a market leader sustainability is at the heart of everything that we do and our meat processing is supported by three complementary divisions: renewables, proteins, and pet foods. This unique circular economy minimises the waste of by-products from meat processing by utilising them across all our divisions, thereby reinforcing our vision to secure a more sustainable future for everyone.
ABP has mapped the ‘Farm to Fork’ carbon footprint of its beef processing supply chain. Despite the fact that beef produced on farms across the British Isles is amongst the most sustainable in the world with a carbon footprint of half of the global average, 90% of emissions across the ABP supply chain are at farm level. The company has been conducting industry leading research with leading universities and research institutions to look at ways of helping beef farmers to reduce their environmental impact.
In a multi-year study carried out at its two Demonstration Farms in Ireland and the UK the company has focused on using a data-driven approach to improving the genetics available to the beef herd. Consequently, beef animals optimise their feed conversion ratio (grow faster) and are ready for slaughter at a younger age, thereby significantly reducing their emissions footprint. Results have consistently shown the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of beef, by optimising the age of slaughter and through better genetics and better feed efficiency. The findings include over six years of data involving 4,000 animals. The most recent update has found:
- Average age of slaughter of cattle on the farm is 19 months for heifers and 21 months for steers.
- There is 46kg more carcass weight at the same age within breed between the best and worst performing sires.
- Returns to farmers can be improved by up to €200 between the best and worst performing sires.
- The findings are applicable across different beef production systems.
Phase 1 of this research has been animal focused while the next phase is starting to look at a whole farm approach, with the help of independent experts in Ireland and the UK, capturing the latest thinking in animal grazing, precision agriculture, land management and biodiversity. The results of this work will offer farmers sustainable farming practices that give them a world beating competitive edge.