Dairy farms with higher-producing cows make smaller carbon footprints and more money, new research claims.
Professor E. Cabrera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted the study and said: “Implementing dairy farm management strategies that increase milk production, decrease the herd replacement rate, or improve reproductive efficiency can increase farm profits while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Different ways of running a typical farm were tested to see what the outcome regarding the economics, the net return and the environment would be.
The simulation took into account numerous things, including crop and pasture production, harvest, feed storage, grazing and manure handling.
Professor Cabrera added: “We found the closer a cow is to maximum milk production potential, the more efficient they are both economically and environmentally.”
As cows give more milk, they eat more and use more resources. But because feed has already been accounted for, any additional feed eaten is used specifically for milk production.
From an efficiency standpoint, more milk is produced in relation to environmental effects as milk production increases.
Professor Cabrera concluded: “If farmers have the opportunity to increase dairy productivity, they should do it.
“According to our data, they will not only have a better net return, but they will also help the environment by having fewer emissions per unit of milk produced.”