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Farm to showcase how to achieve 18% carbon reduction

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019 4:48pm

One award-winning Cork dairy farm is set to reveal how they managed to reduce their carbon footprint by almost a fifth this week when they host a farm walk.

Origin Green Farmer Award winners and Dairygold milk suppliers Trevor and Olive Crowley of Lissarda will host a farm walk on Friday 3 May between 11am and 2pm. During the event the Crowleys will share information on their award-winning sustainable farming practices along with advice from Bord Bia, Teagasc and Dairygold.

The Crowleys won Bord Bia’s 2018 Origin Green Award for reduced carbon footprint for dairy, achieving a reduction of 18 per cent per kilogram of milk solids through a combination of a longer grazing season, a reduction in nitrogen application and reduced manure emissions.

The judges also noted the Crowley’s commitment to biodiversity on their farm, including new hedge plantings, fenced watercourses and a man-made pond installed as an alternative water source.

The Crowley’s three children, Gavin, Alice and Katlyn, all help in the daily routine of milking 150 cows on a 68.8 hectare grazing platform.

Regular soil sampling to correct any identified deficiencies and good grass management has helped the Crowleys to increase days at grass. The addition of clover to some plots has led to increased milk solids and reduced the need for nitrogen in mid-season.

The Crowleys have a targeted approach to slurry application, initially directing applications to where it is most needed. The use of a trailing shoe also minimises nitrogen loss. For more accurate application, fertiliser is applied using a calibrated, GPS-equipped spreader.

Visitors to the Crowley farm on Friday 3 May will get a full insight into all these measures and more.

Trevor Crowley said: “We are delighted to host the event. We’ve been on many farm walks ourselves and we know how useful they can be in terms of learning new skills and receiving new insights. We hope to show visitors how, through implementing the sustainable farming techniques advised by Dairygold, Teagasc and Bord Bia, we have achieved some very positive results.”

Dairygold Head of Supply Chain, Billy Cronin said: “The highest standards of farming practices are evident on the Crowley’s farm and we thank the Crowley family for giving visitors an opportunity to see best practice dairying in operation.”

Morrissey, Senior Manager in Bord Bia’s dairy division said: “Eighty per cent of Irish dairy produce is exported, so the economic success of the sector depends on attracting the best customers in the best markets. Farmers participating in Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme through the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme at farm level are providing the proof of best production systems. The Crowley’s achievements and pursuit of farming environmental excellence are living proof for international food buyers of the dedication of Irish dairy farmers to respecting the environment in which they work and live.”

At the farm walk, Bord Bia will also launch its new SDAS Producer Report, drawing on the results of the farm audits conducted across the country for the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) which will provide very useful feedback to all farmers in relation to sustainability targets.

Stuart Childs, Teagasc Dairy Specialist said: “This farm walk will be very beneficial for those dairy farmers looking to achieve a greater level of environmental sustainability on their farms. Teagasc is actively involved in a range of information sharing programmes on this topic at farm level but it’s always beneficial to have a farmer who has implemented the insights and seen the benefits tell their story. I hope the Crowley’s example will encourage more dairy farmers to implement the sustainability practices advised by Teagasc, confident that it won’t impact on their economic sustainability.”

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