The UK dairy industry has reduced GHG emissions associated with milk production by 24%, improved water efficiency by nearly 24% and boosted energy efficiency by 18%, according to Dairy UK’s Dairy Roadmap. Overall, UK dairy farmers seem to be serious about environmental responsibility, with 70% of them currently taking action to reduce GHG emissions and 43% currently producing or using renewable energy.
Other improvements and efforts:
- Farmers are increasingly implementing water efficiency methods (78% in 2012, up from 58% in 2010);
- 85% of dairy farmers regularly test soil for nutrient content and 88% for pH level;
- Nutrient and Manure management plans are held by 73% and 89% of dairy holding respectively;
- 81% of dairy farmers take action to reduce stocking rates when fields are excessively wet.
The UK is the third-largest producer of milk in Europe and the 10th largest globally. Dairy is the UK’s largest agricultural sector, representing 15% of total agricultural produce in the country.
The Dairy Roadmap is a cross-industry effort created to improve the sustainability of the UK dairy industry. The 10th anniversary report “highlights the vast strides that have been taken both on farms and in dairies since the Dairy Roadmap was founded,” Dairy UK chairman Paul Vernon told attendees of a House of Commons lunch this week. “Together, the British dairy sector has reported a marked improvement in its environmental footprint, not only reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, waste, and other pollutants but also improving the efficiency with which it consumes water, energy, and other resources,” he said, according to the Somerset County Gazette.
Since 2008 processors in the UK dairy industry have monitored their environmental performance on an annual basis through the report. In recent years The Dairy Roadmap has introduced targets to help combat emerging issues such as food and packaging wastes.
The Roadmap includes a handful of case studies outlining how some UK dairies are reaching their sustainability management goals.