Arla Foods unveils pioneering sustainable dairy farming programme

Arla Foods has launched Growing Together, a ground-breaking new three-year sustainable dairy farming initiative, involving its 3,000 British farmers.

It is part of Arla’s European-wide sustainable dairy farming strategy and was initiated by farmers, during 2013, to assist them with their ongoing effort to be more efficient and sustainable through improving animal welfare, protecting natural resources, and improving biodiversity and waste management.

The initiative offers practical, farmer-sourced solutions to help Arla farmers operate efficient and commercially competitive farms.

The programme officially launches this month with seven kick-off events being hosted by Arla farmers on their farms to introduce the four key areas of the initiative:

· Feeding for the future; the nutritional factors that affect efficient production of milk/milk solids

· Breeding for the future; how breeding impacts on the long-term production of milk solids as well as how to use new technology to reduce health problems

· Managing future health; understanding the major health issues reducing efficiency

· Benchmarking for the future; an introduction to new free efficiency benchmarking tools and technology

A series of 60 workshops, facilitated by farm consultants Kite Consulting and E-CO2, will be held across the UK to help Arla farmers develop and share knowledge and best practice across the key areas.

As part of the initiative all Arla farmers are being offered a free on-farm carbon assessment. Themes and information gathered at the assessments will then be presented at the workshops, together with wider business efficiency and environmental performance guidance and advice.

Modern innovative techniques and practices will also be featured to help improve standards and outcomes for farmers, including a forage app to help farmers improve the quality and increase the quantity of forage, saving them money and helping them reduce their carbon footprint. A ‘What if?’ tool is also available to assist farmers in quickly and easily estimating their farm’s carbon footprint to market approved standards.

Commenting on the roll out of Growing Together in the UK, Johnnie Russell, British farmer director of Arla Foods amba, said: “Being owned by over 13,500 dairy farmers means Arla has an unmatched pool of knowledge around how to produce high quality milk innovatively, sustainably and competitively. Growing Together is about unlocking that knowledge and making sure our farmers can share ideas, technologies and best practice with each other, making Arla stronger and more progressive.”

John Cook, an Arla British farmer owner, added: “There has never been a more important time for Arla to launch this programme. Previous Arla-led workshops have helped me achieve significant on-farm benefits, not only environmentally, but financially too. Growing Together is a further evolution of these extremely valuable schemes and I look forward to sharing and learning new skills and techniques alongside fellow Arla farmers.”

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