Farm walks are being held to assist farmers to both understand the issues and measures that can improve environmental and financial performance in sustainable milk production.

The first two walks on ‘Efficient and Sustainable Milk Production’ will be held on Wednesday, March 27 on the farms of Mark Patterson, Drumcroon Road and Garvagh and James Murphy, Ballyreagh, Tempo in Northern Ireland.

The walks start at 11:00a.m and farmers are being invited to enrol for the events on the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) website.

There are also events in counties, Armagh, Antrim, Down and Tyrone being planned for later in April.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) stated that the challenges facing producers across four main areas are carbon, air and water quality, and biodiversity.

The department also said it is “fundamental” to address these concerns to maintain a resilient system of milk production.

Senior dairying development adviser at CAFRE, Alan Agnew said:

“The solution to some of these environmental challenges is to be found in improved technical efficiency, and with that comes improved profitability.

“There are classic opportunities that milk producers should be seeking to cash in on as milk payments, consumer expectations all increasingly focus on the environmental impacts of our production systems,” Agnew added.

Farm walks on sustainable milk production

During the meetings, CAFRE advisers and technologists will outline the current physical, financial, and environmental performance of the farms.

They will identify the measures that already have, or can be, implemented to get the “dual benefits”, such as improved profit and a better environment.

These actions range across all aspects of dairy production, from breeding and genetics, through feeding and nutrition, soil health and fertility, to swards and forage production.

Agnew added:

“Farmers may be expected to better account for the nutrient flows through their production system and the emissions that occur.”

He also said that the systems may be “tweaked” but he is confident as these farms demonstrate that they are sustainable and milk production systems that “enhance” the environment and remain profitable.