The Dairy Council for Northern Ireland is holding a sustainable dairy event to promote the need for NI dairy farms to capture and analyse emissions data to inform on-farm decisions around sustainability.
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NI dairy sector to gather and discuss boosting sustainability
Mike Johnston, Dairy Council CEO

The conference, which will take place on Tuesday, November 8, will focus on the possibility of dairy farm sustainability data being key to unlocking additional environmental improvements on farms.

The event will feature a discussion panel with three CEOs of NI’s largest dairy co-operatives: Dale Farm, Glanbia Cheese and Lakeland Dairies, who will underline the importance of on-farm sustainability to their own businesses.

They will also speak about their sustainability plans, how they are working with farmers to tackle climate change and the role that data collection will play in helping market NI dairy produce to local and international customers.

Board Member of the Dutch Farmers Organization, Wilco Brouwer de Koning, will give a snapshot of the work being undertaken on his own dairy farm and the work being undertaken in the Netherlands to improve biodiversity.

The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) secretary, Katrina Godfrey, will provide a policy update from the department.

Speaking ahead of the event, Dairy Council CEO, Mike Johnston said: “The Northern Ireland dairy sector has made significant strides in recent years to decarbonise farm and processing businesses, and this has put our produce on a sound footing for providing valuable dairy products for the local market and grow the sector to compete on the world stage.”

“Many of the existing carbon reduction techniques such as low emission slurry spreading, energy saving and renewable energy technologies have become more commonplace on dairy farms and this has contributed to major savings over the last 32 years.

“DAERA figures released last week (October 20) show that, since 1990, the carbon intensity per litre of milk has reduced 36.9%.

“The next stage in the dairy sustainability journey will be to capture the carbon emission data on a farm-by-farm basis to allow management decisions to be made tailored for their own farm,” he said.

A number of dairy farmers have already been participating in carbon modelling initiatives such as the ARCzero carbon neutral acceleration programme and local dairy farmers, Hugh Harbison, Ian McClelland and former Dairy Council chair Mark Blelock, will participate in a discussion panel with Wilco.

The event is taking place at the Dunadry Hotel, Templepatrick, from 11:00am to 1:00pm on Tuesday, November 8, with registration open from 10:30am.

Bega’s Better Farms Program supports eligible dairy farmers’ by offering up to $1.1 million worth of financial grants each year.

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