LESS is more: Secrets to success for ‘Green’ dairy farmers

Farmers from across Munster attended a ‘Dairy Sustainability Day’ which was hosted on the farm of award-winning farmers and Dairygold Milk Suppliers, Trevor and Olive Crowley of Lissarda, Co. Cork.

The Crowleys milk 150 cows on a 68.8ha grazing platform.

They were the winners of the Bord Bia 2018 Origin Green Award for reduced carbon footprint for dairy, achieving a reduction of 18% per kilogram of milk solids.

Achieving the award through a combination of a longer grazing season, a reduction in nitrogen application and reduced manure emissions, the Crowleys gave attending farmers an insight into the practices implemented on their farm.

Speaking at the event, Dairygold head of supply chain Billy Cronin said: “We are delighted with today’s turnout. It is great to see so many people wanting to learn more about sustainable farming practices.

Image source: O’Gorman Photography

“Days such as these are a great way for farmers to hear about and see these practices first-hand.”

Stuart Childs, Teagasc dairy specialist, said: “The Crowleys have embraced Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) technology to allow them increase the amount of slurry recycled onto their grazing platform throughout the grazing season, which in turn allows them to reduce the amount of fertiliser they are using to grow their grass.

They have also installed a heat transfer unit associated with their bulk tank – which essentially heats their water for free.

These two investments have not only allowed them to reduce their carbon footprint but also reduce their production costs.

“The biodiversity on the farm and the emphasis put on it by the Crowley’s will be evident to all here today. This event is a great example of intensive dairy farming occurring in tandem with environmentally sustainable practices.”

Mary Morrissey, senior manager in Bord Bia’s dairy division, said: “The generosity of the Crowley family in opening their farm and sharing their experiences with like-minded quality milk producers speaks volumes about the ambition of Irish milk producers to grow their enterprises in a sustainable way.

“This event also demonstrates to our international customers the openness of Irish farmers to constantly improve how they produce quality milk for the dairy industry.”