Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Grass based Dairy Farms have a Low Carbon Footprint

What is the Carbon Footprint for Milk on your farm? Calculating your onfarm Carbon Footprint for Milk is about to become really important. In December there is a critical International meeting to be held in Copenhagen about how the world is to reduce carbon emissions. Each country (including EU 27) will make key decisions as to how (read at what cost) the carbon emissions are to be reduced. There wont be too much debate about.....do we really need to do this? http://www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk/en/

Guess what? Agriculture will be targetted as a key industry where reductions must happen. The UK government is looking for a 20% reduction in Agricultural emissions by 2020. This may require a reduction in cow numbers, reduced fertilizer N use, reduced consumption of electricity, oil & fuel, and improvements to herd fertility. Methane emissions from cows & manure waste management are of concern given methane's "Global Warming Potential". Herd fertility is seen as a means of reducing a farm's Carbon Footprint.
Dairy farmers thru out the world (not just the UK) will be held responsible for their carbon emissions......either by reducing carbon emissions or having to buy carbon credits. Carbon credits will be traded probably with a relatively low initial value say 15 Euros but after 2015 the cost of these will almost certainly increase rapidly (perhaps to 60 Euros). This will have a major effect on farm costs.
As electricity generation is a major UK source of current carbon emissions...........you can be very sure that electricity costs will rise & that dairy farmers need to reduce consumption both to control costs & to reduce the Carbon Footprint of their milk production. Every dairy farmer needs to look at ways of reducing electricity such as Heat Recovery Units or Varivac Systems
http://www.corkillsystems.co.nz/ Steve will be at the Dairy Event & available to visit Discussion Groups (talk to Tom)
There are some excellent websites on how to reduce electricity usage http://www.caenz.com/sustain/Downloads/Farmers_Report.pdf
Pasture based dairy farms have a lower Carbon Footprint for MILK. Every Discussion Group now needs to calculate the Carbon Footprint before December. Talk to Tom about this as I have set up spreadsheets for Discussion Groups to use.
On a closely related issue..........Food Security is now a Government topic.....surprise surprise!! There is very good reason for the UK government to be concerned having for decades all but destroyed UK agriculture. It's an outrageous situation in the current 'global warming & climatic uncertain future' that highly productive UK soils are either poorly utilized or even worse.....have ceased to produce food. How Government intends to change this will be very interesting indeed.
There is an excellent BBC program that is very good & well worth watching..."Future of Food" http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00m9xk9/Future_of_Food_Episode_1/
Grass based dairy farmers need to Stand up, Speak up....Grass based dairyfarms already have a low Carbon Footprint & they are less reliant on reducing world stocks of oil!

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