Improving the efficiency of dairy production reduces GHG emissions - Ireland
|Source : IDF National Committee of Ireland|
Teagasc has identified using Life Cycle Analysis a number of cost effective practices that farmers can readily adopt nationally, which will reduce their carbon footprint per unit of milk through improved production efficiency (Lovett et al., 2008; O’Brien et al., 2010). The key measures identified were increasing the length of the grazing season, increasing the genetic merit of the herd and better nutrient management.
Increasing the length of the grazing season by 10 days is expected to reduce GHG per unit of product by 1.7%. Similarly, greater use of AI to improve the genetic merit of the herd by 10 units will reduce the carbon footprint of dairy production by 2%. Improvements in nutrient management and greater use of legumes such as white clover will contribute to reducing GHG emissions by reducing farm N surpluses e.g. reducing farm N surplus by 25 kg ha decreases the carbon footprint by 1.5%.
Overall, we forecast that with moderate (50%) adoption of the practices described, the carbon footprint of Irish milk production will decrease by 16% by 2020 relative to 2008 levels. In addition, these changes will increase milk output per hectare, which will have a positive effect on the financial performance of the sector. In the long term, the current carbon footprint of Irish milk production could be reduced by as much as 40% based on present research herds.
- Mr Phil Kelly
IDF National Committee of Ireland
Ireland, Republic of
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