Improving soil management
Examples listed in this key area range from current research through to dairy farming initiatives.
Sustainable dairy farming - Robert Grieve, Millbrook, Victoria, Australia
|Source : DemoDAIRY|
To be sustainable, Robert has planted shelter belts, protected mature native trees and is using natural fertilizers such as Eco Fish granules and switching over to humus fertilizers to improve soil quality. Robert believes that healthy soils create better quality pastures and healthy stock (cows). Healthier cows will produce more milk. Robert sows perennial rye grass and grows lucerne to feed his cows. The end result is a win-win for both the farmer in terms of high milk production per cow and improved environmental management and outcomes for his dairy farm. Refer to the following video:
Michael and Dawn Waite - Ecklin, Victoria, Australia
|Source : Landcare|
Enhancing biodiversity and productivity through:
- Fencing off remanent vegetation
- Rehabilitating and protecting waterways
- Planting shelterbelts
- Planting new pastures
- Capturing nutrients from dairy effluent
- Developing soil nutrient maps
New pastures using much more productive and sustainable perennial species has resulted in a significant lift in total ‘home grown feed’ which has allowed the milking herd to be raised from 200 cows in 2005 to over 300 cows in 2009.
Biological approach to dairy farming - Ben Holloway, Allansford, Victoria, Australia
|Source : DemoDAIRY|
Ben's farm has adopted a biological or back to nature approach to dairy farming. This involves focusing on soil quality rather than solely profitability with the intention of leaving the land in better condition than when he started dairy farming.
Refer to the following video:
Sustainable Ecological Development in India – 23.5 million trees planted under AMUL Green Campaign
|Source : Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, Anand, Gujarat, India|
For preserving and contributing to betterment of our environment, and reduce effects of Global Warming, state level apex body of dairy farmers in Gujarat, India – the GCMMF (Amul) discovered a novel idea for giving back to nature. The idea was Tree Plantation by milk producer members of Dairy Cooperatives on every Independence Day of India (15th August).
The idea was put in to practice for the first time in the year 2007. Immaculate planning was done to execute the idea. On the day of plantation, after the flag hoisting ceremony, each milk producer farmer member took an oath to plant a sapling and ensure that it grew into a tree.
The milk producers planted a sapling on their own at their identified locations like their farm, near their home, on farm bunds, etc. The practice has been repeated every year since then with an increasing number of saplings per milk producer.
In last four years, milk producers of Amul have planted more than 23.5 million tree saplings across 21 districts in Gujarat.
Industry association initiatives: DemoDAIRY - Australia
|Source : DemoDAIRY|
Further examples of research (as of July 30, 2009) are:
Nitrous Oxide Project
This project, a Department of Primary Industries initiative, will use automatic chambers to intensively study N2O losses from urine patches, using a range of application timings of both urine and an inhibitor. Coupled with this will be satellite sites where the same treatments are applied across a range of climate and soils conditions, with these sites monitored for soil mineral N fractions and DM production. This project will assist in improving our understanding of emissions from urinary returns under Australian conditions and the mitigation potential of inhibitors
Carbon Tender Plot Project
DemoDAIRY entered a Carbon Tender Landowner Revegetation Agreement with Dept. of Sustainability and Environment in September 2004. The Agreement committed DemoDAIRY to revegetate a selected parcel of land to local indigenous plants for the purposes of being a carbon sink. The 2.2ha site was direct seeded with 8kg of seed and has the potential to absorb 258 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The sight cannot be used for any other purpose except for seed harvesting for 99 years - see ‘Notes Page’ for Background.
Carbon storage in soils - France
|Source : IDF National Committee of France|
Permanent grasslands capture carbon and, doing so, compensate partially GHG emissions of dairy farming. The essential role of theses permanent grasslands has been recognised by the Kyoto protocol (article 3.4). France is covered with 8,5 millions hectares of permanent grassland, of which 3 million are dedicated to dairy farming.
Research to identify mechanisms which are still not well known :
- experimentation and measure of carbon storage under grassland
- development of a model for the assessment of carbon storage in soils
- identification of agricultural practices favouring carbon storage
INRA Theix, J-P Soussana
The annual carbon storage of French permanent grassland of less than 30 years is estimated to 500 kg/ha & year, which compensates around 45% of GHG emissions of grass-based farms. Keeping this grassland maintains carbon stocks, and prevents the reducing of carbon stock observed when soils are brought under cultivation. Thanks to these results the carbon print of dairy products will be calculated with more accuracy