FIE 1: Farm Sustainability Audit

Identifying key sustainability metrics to develop and implement a sustainability audit for dairy farmers and sharing the gathered data with consumers. 

At present, the dairy industry is focused on sustainable intensification and expansion. In this context, the overall goal of this Flagship Innovation Experiment (FIE) is to identify key sustainability metrics and to facilitate the benchmarking and improvement of sustainability at farms and throughout the dairy industry. This quantification is done through the combination of on-farm sensors, existing farm data, internationally recognised models, integrated databases and the consultation of various key stakeholders in agriculture.

Using between 30-40 dairy farms as ‘Development and Deployment Farms’, this FIE develops and implements a sustainability audit system for milk production systems. The basic thrust is to measure a range of parameters related to energy and water use, nutrient use efficiency, animal welfare and greenhouse gas emissions, developing a platform leveraging these data and then to provide objective and real-time information to the farmer for them to monitor and subsequently improve the sustainability of their production processes. The gathered information is also made available to consumers to ensure that they make informed decisions. Ultimately, once developed, the tool could be replicated in other countries across Europe.