Project code: RCF-03-2010

Duration 2 Years

Team and Leader Dr Conrad Ferris, AFBI Stormont

Organisations Involved AgriSearch (Lead Industry Partner & co-funder), DARD Research Challenge Fund (Co-Funder), AFBI - Hillsborough (Research Partner)

Background and Summary

The project involves a research team comprising 9 Northern Ireland dairy producers, in partnership with AFBI scientists.  The project will seek to develop management tools to accurately monitor Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from dairy systems at individual farm level, and evaluate a key mitigation strategy within an on-farm research project.  

The main components of the research programme are as follows:

Development of a statistically robust on-line benchmarking tool to enable GHG emissions to be accurately determined at individual farm level.  Uniquely, this tool will benchmark key dairy herd traits influencing GHG emissions, such as age at first calving, reproductive performance and wastage rates drawn down from APHIS, through AFBI’s Bovine Information System (BovIS).  In addition, records of milk production, inputs, forage area and manure management will be included to enable an overall assessment of GHG emissions.

This application will be made available to all Northern Ireland dairy farmers.

Determination of GHG emissions across a range of milk production systems.  Benchmarking will be undertaken by 10 research farmers, representing a range of commercial systems, thus enabling GHG emissions from a range of milk production systems to be quantified.

Investigate a range of transition cow management regimes designed to minimise infectious diseases such as metritis and mastitis, and metabolic disorders such as ketosis and fatty liver syndrome, during early lactation. Improved cow health and reproductive function will improve longevity, decrease replacement costs and thus reduce the carbon footprint of milk production systems.



Technical report - Industry Report on "The development of an online calculator for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from Northern Ireland dairy farms, and an examination of emissions from a number of dairy farms