Analysis of the green house impact of milk production in Norwegian dairy farms
Due to site and climate conditions milk production in North Scandinavia is special. In the Norwegian county Møre og Romsdal organic and conventional dairy farming is based on grassland. Concentrates are generally imported in the farms. Grazing is not only done on the cultivated farm area and pastures, but often also semi natural grassland and rangelands in the mountains. The Norwegian research project ENVIROMILK is addressing the sustainability of 20 organic and conventional dairy farms in this region by analysing and modelling nutrient flows, energy use, economy and climate gasses.
Environmental, economical and social sustainability is a goal for agricultural policy. Rapid changes in the heterogeneous Norwegian agriculture may impede positive developments. The primary objective is to find indicators describing the challenges in terms of environmental strategies for dairy farmers in Møre og Romsdal County in Norway. The results can be used to generate strategies to improve environmental and economical sustainability on farm level.
The Thünen-Institute of Organic farming calculates the climate effects and nutrient flows with the Model FARM (Flow Analysis and Resource Management). The open model is applied and adapted together with the Norwegian project partners to fit to Norwegian conditions.
Over the period of three years, 10 conventional and 10 organic farms are followed. Data of feeding, forage production, milk yields, meat production, herd structure, and management, management of plant production and economics are assessed by interviews and farm records. Using the FARM-Model the global warming potential of dairy production from cradle to farm gate is calculated for each farm using international standard emission factors and /or local emissions factors. Nutrient flows within the farm are also assessed.
With the model FARM (Flow Analysis and Resource Efficiency Model) a freely available and complete model to run material flow anlyses and life cycle balances on farm level is available (Schüler et al. 2016). The assessments show that Norwegian dairy farms in the region under study regularily import their concentrates. N-surplusses are lower in organic farms than under conventional management (Koesling et al. 2017a). Organic dairy farms produce their feed and meat and milk with lower energy intensity than conventional farms (Koesling et al. 2017b). High variations in energy intensity and in green house gas emissions indicate potential for improvements on the farms.
1.2012 - 12.2016
Project status: finished