Dairy cows in a field with wind turbines © Benno-Sanger/West 61/Rex Shutterstock

Despite ongoing challenges across the sector, progress with environmental measures on farm “continues to march forwards,” according to the latest Dairy Roadmap.

Launched today at the Farmers Club in London, the report highlights progress made by dairy farmers, processors and retailers in reducing their carbon footprints since the first Dairy Roadmap in 2008.

Representatives from the National Farmers Union (NFU), Dairy UK and the AHDB were on hand to unveil the report.

Among the key achievements outlined were:

  • 78% of dairy farmers are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on farm.
  • 77% of dairy holdings are now implementing nutrient management plans.
  • 10-15% of dairy farmers implementing at least one form of renewable technology – meeting their 2015 target of 15%.
  • Of the 43 large processing sites reporting into the Dairy Roadmap, 39  have an environmental management system (EMS) in place.

“Despite current challenges across our industry we are continuing to work towards a shared goal and this is a fantastic example of industry collaboration”
Rob Harrison, NFU dairy board chairman

Rob Harrison, NFU dairy board chairman, branded the results “astounding”.

“The whole supply chain is doing their bit to adhere to the programme of targets to help make the dairy supply chain more environmentally sustainable,” he said. 

“Despite current challenges across our industry we are continuing to work towards a shared goal and this is a fantastic example of industry collaboration.”

See also: 63% of dairy farmers not interested in measuring emissions

“We will challenge ourselves with relevant environmental targets for 2020 and 2025, such as implementing on-farm technology to help reduce emissions and an increase in biodiversity at processor sites,” Mr Harrison continued.

“These will evolve and adapt, to ensure that the British dairy industry continues to work responsibly to mitigate its environmental impact to provide for a more sustainable future,” he said.

Copies of the Dairy Roadmap 2015

© RBI

Speaking at the launch, Dr Judith Bryans, Dairy UK CEO, congratulated the industry on its environmental achievements, but urged stakeholders not to become complacent.

“While we can all stand here today and reflect with pride on the industry’s achievements in the environmental arena, it’s not our style to be complacent and rest on our laurels,” said Dr Bryans.

She added there is “no end point when it comes to the environment”.

“We have done a lot but there is still a lot of work ahead and we look forward to seizing the challenge to keep the UK dairy industry at the forefront on environmental issues.”