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Dairy & Beef Intensification GHG emissions workshop

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Concept Conference Centre

58-72 John Bright Street

Birmingham

B1 1BN

United Kingdom

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Workshop objective: Promote awareness, and stimulate resolution, of disagreements between GHG accounting at farm, national & international scales when assessing sustainable intensification measures for dairy and beef farms in contrasting locations.

A position paper will be developed during and after the workshop, to be published in an international, peer-reviewed journal.

Background

There is a gathering imperative towards measuring and promoting “sustainable intensification” of agricultural production, including through use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to benchmark farm-level efficiency and encourage the uptake of “win-win” mitigation options that improve profitability whilst reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity (carbon footprint) of milk and meat products.

Recent findings from the NRN-LCEE CLEANER COWS cluster indicate that well-established animal-level efficiencies arising from dairy farm intensification may be linked with important indirect GHG sources and sinks that are not detected by KPIs and farm carbon calculators. Important indirect effects that may not be detected by farm level indicators include:

  • Expansion of cropland to provide additional concentrate feed
  • Sparing of grassland for other uses, including beef production, forestry, fallow, with potential secondary consequences for animal and land use emissions elsewhere via e.g. substitution of beef production
  • Reductions in dairy-beef output from culled milking cows and calves exported to the beef sector

The above effects may arise regionally or internationally via trade in animal feed and beef commodities, and are highly sensitive to: characteristics of farms exiting from, or expanding within, the dairy sector; use of spared grassland; origin of marginal beef production affected by aforementioned changes. Failing to account for these effects could lead to the development of inappropriate strategies intended to operationalise “sustainable intensification” and mitigate GHG emissions.

This workshop aims to advance our understanding of the implications of these indirect effects on the wider efficacy of GHG mitigation strategies, with reference to case studies from a selection of countries with contrasting dairy systems, including:

  • Costa Rica
  • England & Wales
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands

Particular attention will be paid to dairy-beef sector linkages that appear critical to determine the wider GHG mitigation efficacy of measures that are often promoted from the perspective of single products, individual farms or single sectors.

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Date and Time

Location

Concept Conference Centre

58-72 John Bright Street

Birmingham

B1 1BN

United Kingdom

View Map

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