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© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 The environment and sustainability
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Learning objectives To recognise how dairy cow farming impacts on the environment. To be aware of the different initiatives being taken by dairy farmers to protect and enhance the environment.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Methane emissions When cows chew and digest food they burp and emit methane(CH 4 ). This gas also exists naturally in the atmosphere and helps regulate the Earth's temperature. Dairy cow farming can have an impact on the environment due to methane production contributing to global warming. There are a range of measures being used by dairy farmers to reduce the impact on the environment, as well as to enhance the environment.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Reduction in methane emissions Dairy farmers have worked hard to reduce their environmental impact. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from UK dairy farms have declined sharply over the last 20 years. Looking at the UK’s total emissions, the UK transport gas emissions is currently responsible for 25% of this, whereas British dairy farming represents only 2%.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Clover There are many ways in which dairy farmers are working to sustain the environment. Clover has nitrogen fixing properties. Some farmers will plant this in fields to promote nitrogen in the soil. This natural process allows nitrogen from the atmosphere around the plant to be used rather than using artificial fertilisers.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Managing manure Managing manure is an important aspect of dairy farming. On most British dairy farms, the manure produced is used on the land as a natural fertiliser, providing valuable nutrients for crops, including grass. Dairy cow slurry, a combination of cow manure and water from washing the milking parlour, is usually stored in a slurry tank or lagoon. The slurry is spread over the fields at certain times of year.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Managing manure Dairy farmers use slurry application techniques that reduce odours and the risk of water pollution. Find our more …
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Managing manure Cow manure can be a useful by-product. Some dairy farmers, particularly those with larger farms, use anaerobic digesters to turn cows' manure into energy. The digester breaks down the manure, producing biogas that feeds a generator, which in turn produces electricity that can be fed into the National Grid.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Hedgerows Britain's hedgerows, with their thriving wildlife, are regularly maintained by farmers. As well as providing a natural boundary between pastures, hedges are trimmed, out of the nesting season, to provide a breeding ground for birds and other wildlife.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Wildlife Many dairy farmers also create 'wildlife corridors' by leaving a strip of grass around the edge of the pastures, plant trees and wooded areas and establish ponds to attract wildlife. Some farmers will leave maize stubble in fields over winter, for ground nesting birds, so they can nest amongst the stubble.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Water use on farms Water is essential for dairy farming for: 1) Providing dairy cows with a regular and constant supply of clean water to drink. 2) Washing the milking parlour and equipment following milking.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Water use on farms British dairy farmers are constantly looking at ways to conserve water and cut costs without compromising on either animal welfare or dairy hygiene. For example, the Milk Roadmap* has set a target of reducing water use by between 5-15% by 2020. Water is often recycled on farms. Some farmers, for example, harvest rain water via roof systems. This water can then be used for parlour wash down, initial plate cooling and drinking water for the cows when they are in cow sheds. * One of a series of reports originally produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to reduce the environmental impact across the life cycle of a range of priority products. This has now been adopted by the dairy industry.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Carbon Trust Certification British dairy farmers have been working with the Carbon Trust to help continue to improve its environmental performance, being awarded certification. Over time, the work aims to increase understanding of what can be practically implemented on farm to reduce carbon footprint. Work continues to provide a better understanding of how season, or changes in management practice, can impact positively or negatively on a farm’s carbon footprint. The aim is to further reduce the impact milk production in Great Britain on climate change. Carbon Trust: www.carbontrustcertification.com
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 LEAF Marque The LEAF Marque is a food assurance scheme showing that food has been produced with environmental care. Food displaying the LEAF Marque logo has been produced by farmers who carry out a wide range of activities to look after the environment and its wildlife. These include managing hedgerows for wildlife, using pesticides and fertilisers only when absolutely necessary, leaving a strip of land between hedgerows and crops to act as a habitat for wildlife, recycling on- farm waste, conserving energy and improving water efficiency and quality.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Red Tractor scheme The Red Tractor logo can only be used to label ingredients from farmers, growers and food processors that have been inspected and certified to strict standards in the UK. One of the standards is about environmental protection. It makes sure farmers protect the countryside by preventing pollution of watercourses, soil, air and wildlife habitats.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Aiming to improve The dairy industry is still working towards reducing the negative environmental impact even further through the Milk Roadmap. Concerns about climate change are also being addressed by dairy farmers on a global scale, through the Global Dairy Agenda for Action on Climate Change. Milk Roadmap: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/business/products/roadmaps/milk.htm Global Dairy Agenda: http://www.dairy-sustainability-initiative.org
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Summary As part of a natural living system, dairy cow farming can have a impact on the environment due to methane production. However, this is declining. There are a range of measures being used by dairy farmers to reduce the impact on the environment, as well as to enhance the environment. Find our more …
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Quiz Take the quiz. EndTake the quiz
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 1 Which gas do cows emit when they are chewing grass? A. Oxygen (O 2 ) C. Sodium (Na) B. Methane (CH 4 ) D. Radon (Rn)
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 1 Correct – well done! Next question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 1 Sorry, that is not correct. Try againNext question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 2 How much does dairy farming currently contribute to the UK’s total emissions? A. 0% C. 25% B. 2% D. 50%
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 2 Correct – well done! Next question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 2 Sorry, that is not correct. Try againNext question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 3 Which of the following is NOT a slurry management method used by farmers to help sustain the environment? A. Spread the slurry over the land to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers. C. Special land application techniques to reduce odour and water pollution. B. Anaerobic digester which turns cow manure into energy. D. Use the slurry to make bricks for environmentally friendly housing.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 3 Correct – well done! Next question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 3 Sorry, that is not correct. Try againNext question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 4 Which action by the farmers helps to fix nitrogen and reduce the use of fertiliser? A. Plant clover in the fields. C. Regularly trim the hedgerows. B. Create ‘wildlife corridors’. D. Collect rain water.
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 4 Correct – well done! Next question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 4 Sorry, that is not correct. Try againNext question
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 5 Which food assurance scheme helps consumers identify foods produced by farmers, growers and food processors that meet high environmental protection standards? A. Carbon Trust C. Lot or batch number B. Milk Roadmap D. Red Tractor
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 5 Correct – well done! End
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 Question 5 Sorry, that is not correct. Try againEnd
© BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION 2012 British Nutrition Foundation High Holborn House 52-54 High Holborn London WC1V 6RQ Telephone: 020 7404 6504 Fax: 020 7404 6747 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web : www.nutrition.org.uk www.foodafactoflife.org.uk
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