• Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
    Recognizing that constant improvement is best for the environment and farmers’ bottom line, DFC is investing in 13 research projects, in partnership with the government. Projects measure emissions from dairy farms and improve practices related to better quality feed and cow nutrition, improved animal health, better management of farm nutrients and technologies producing renewable energy.
  • Carbon Footprint of Milk Production
    DFC commissioned a full environmental and socio-economic Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of dairy production. LCAs are recognized internationally as a measurement of the environmental and social impacts of a product through its entire life cycle – from the time it is created to the time it is recycled or turned into landfill. The Canadian dairy production LCA will identify areas where dairy farmers can improve and refine practices to lower the LCA of producing milk.
  • Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
    Part of the sustainability equation on a dairy farm means to care for the animals and ensure their good health, and to effectively manage soil, air and water quality.

    Dairy farmers take genetic improvement and animal nutrition to heart. Research has significantly contributed to improving our understanding of cows’ needs, leading to improvements in efficiency for milk production in Canada. As a result, dairy farmers need less land and other resources – like water and fertilizers – to produce enough to meet Canadian demand for dairy.
    There are 50% fewer dairy cows in Canada than 40 years ago, produce enough milk for Canadians. In these forty years, the population has grown by 12 million.
    The impact on the environment? Less manure and less methane produced. Less water, less land and less fertilizer needed. Family farms bringing you better, greener dairy products!

    • Improve Soil
      Canadian dairy farms combine livestock and cropland. Many dairy farmers grow their own feed and use manure, supplemented with commercial fertilizer, to grow these crops.

      Good quality soil is important: crop rotation, growing forages & legumes improve soil quality, reducing the amount of fertilizer needed to grow crops. Not tilling the soil before planting stores carbon in the soil and reduce GHG emissions.

    • Turn Waste into Energy
      The production of renewable energy on farms interest dairy farmers:
      • solar panels or windmills
      • production and use of biodiesel
      • biodigesters transform methane from manure into electricity
        Biodigesters are turning waste into energy through anaerobic digestion (decomposing organic matter without oxygen). Similar to composting, the manure is broken down into a methane-rich biogas and digestate). The biogas is transformed into renewable energy and the digestate is turned into fertilizer. The energy produced from certain biodigesters can provide enough electricity to heat and light as many as 300 households!
    • Improve Air
      Manure is valuable to fertilize soils that grow crops to feed dairy animals. The way farmers collect, store and apply manure to land can manage odours and GHG emissions. For example, biodigesters minimize odours and use emissions to make renewable energy: a double win!
    • Protect Water
      Canadian dairy farmers must protect water from bacterial contamination to produce safe milk. How?
      Farmers restrict cattle access to bodies of water on the farm; locate manure storage away from water; leave uncultivated areas between field and waterways. They also test their water regularly to ensure its quality.
    • Increase Biodiversity
      Hay fields, fields for crops, wetlands, woodlots and uncultivated areas on a farm offer diverse habitats that attract a wide variety of animals and birds. This contributes to the rich diversity of wildlife in Canada. Many farmers collaborate with Ducks Unlimited to preserve wetlands.
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