Practical ways to lower carbon emissions will take centre stage at this year’s Dairy Show, where farmers can expect the latest advice, research and tools to help them on the path to net zero.
‘Reduce what you can. Offset what you can’t’ represents the carbon theme for the show and its seminars which take place on Wednesday 4 October at the Bath & West Showground in Somerset.
Chairman of the show David Cotton, chose the carbon theme in light of growing pressure on the industry to lower its environmental impact and improve sustainability. “We wanted to go with carbon because very often, if you lower your carbon footprint, it helps overall business performance,” he explains.
The seminars will highlight ways farmers can tackle specific areas within their business to help reach the industry’s target of net zero by 2040. Mr Cotton says it’s important not to get hung up on the small stuff. “It’s the things you can do over time that will make a difference to carbon footprint, whether that’s breeding, soil management, or efficiency through energy use,” he adds.
As usual, there will be a wide array of trade stands at the event offering support on all aspects of dairy farming from grass management to financial planning, milk testing, animal health, and machinery.
Farmers looking for practical solutions to lower methane emissions and energy costs could find the answer during Bennamann’s presentation in the seminar area. The company’s Grant Crawford will showcase their innovative system which enables farmers to cover their slurry lagoons and convert the captured fugitive methane into fuel. This can be used to power farm vehicles or a farm generator.
“We do all the processing on farm and we sell the energy back to the farmer at a really competitive rate compared to what they’re currently paying and we aim to fix that for five years,” Mr Crawford explains. On one Cornish dairy, such a system has reduced emissions by 87%, while the energy produced has provided an additional income stream.
Becky Wilson at Farm Carbon Toolkit will explain how management changes can influence emissions and business performance and also highlight recent trial work on soil carbon sequestration. “I’ll be sharing our experiences of our work over the last three years on the Farm Net Zero project, alongside the work that we have been doing with Yeo Valley to bring data that shows how farmers can reduce emissions and improve carbon storage on dairy farms,” she says.
Vet Andy Adler at MoleCare Vets will be taking a philosophical approach to how farmers can reach net zero. He’ll be introducing the business concept of ‘weed, seed and feed’ which is focused on giving up what’s not needed, nurturing what is, and monitoring results.
“If you continue with your system as is, which was set up in an era focused on chemically driven food production, you could struggle to get to net zero,” he says. “You need to ensure people and stock are healthy and stress-free by investing in leadership and values to create a clear plan for your farm and animals.”
The carbon theme fits well with the ethos of headline sponsor, Mole Valley Farmers, whose Climate Positive Agriculture initiative is aimed at helping farmers lower their farm’s environmental impact. This includes detailing the carbon footprint on the label of all of their own compounds and blends.
Competitions Executive Naomi Guiver says as always dairy cattle remain at the heart of the show. “We have 57 showing classes taking place on the day, including showmanship and calf classes.
“Five breeds will be showcased, plus the Any Other Dairy Breed class. And we’ll also be hosting the Jersey and Guernsey National Shows. Entries close on 19 September, so get those entries in now!”