Caring for the Environment
Good environmental management is just good management.
Dairy farmers are environmental caretakers. They’re committed to managing land and water responsibly, reducing greenhouse gases and protecting Australia’s natural resources for future generations.
Agricultural practices have significantly altered the Australian landscape over the last 200 years. Large areas of forests and open grasslands have been converted to farmland, new plants and animals have been introduced and water and land use patterns have changed. This has resulted in a range of impacts on soils, water quality and biodiversity.
Today’s farmers have a far greater understanding of these impacts than their predecessors 200 years ago. They’re constantly finding new, more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to manage their land, animals and businesses, to prevent degradation and to reverse damage caused by previous practices.
The biggest environmental focuses for dairy farmers are:
- soil health and nutrient balance
- reducing energy use and greenhouse gases
- managing areas for biodiversity.
Farmers use a range of actions to manage environmental concerns on the farm. These can include:
- planting shelter belts of trees and other vegetation to provide shelter to livestock and habitats for native animals, birds and insects
- revegetating riverbanks and paddocks to reduce soil erosion, runoff and salinity
- testing soil for nutrient levels before applying fertilisers, to ensure they only use as much as they need
- measuring soil moisture to determine the level of irrigation required and matching irrigation to the requirement of plants
- crop and herd grazing rotation to give paddocks time to rest and recover
- fencing off waterways to stop animals from damaging river banks and reducing water quality
- ensuring cows are well-fed to reduce methane emissions
- diverting water from the milking shed, which can often contain animal waste, into separate settling ponds where it can be processed and eventually recycled to irrigate and fertilise paddocks
- using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power
- reducing energy use in the milking shed by replacing old equipment and parts such as water cooling and hot water systems with more energy-efficient ones that use off-peak timers
- designing thermal-efficient dairies that keep out unwanted heat or cold and keep in wanted heat or cold and reduce electricity use.
For more information on how dairy farmers care for the environment visit: