Low Carbon Agriculture for Dairy Project

A new approach to feeding dairy cows is being tested in Cornwall (UK) and Finistère (Brittany, France). A two-year project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industry and improving productivity.

  • It’s cross-Channel, between the United Kingdom and France
  • Support 80 farmers in Brittany and Cornwall in their transition to greener agriculture

Cornouaille and Finistère both have large dairy sectors. Low Carbon Agriculture for Milk (ABCD) plans to reduce the carbon footprint of pilot farms by 10% thanks to:

  • measure existing emissions, and
  • pilot new approaches to feeding dairy cows.

It will also contribute to climate goals to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The micro-project received €400,000 from the Interreg France (Channel) England programme. This is part of the European Regional Development Fund. The project will rely on the expertise of the Communes of Cornouaille and Finistère as well as the Chamber of Agriculture of Brittany.

The project is in two phases:

  1. Two pilot farms (one in France and one in the UK) will measure existing emissions and test new diets on several cattle over the winter.

The results of the first phase will be used for the second phase,

  1. Knowledge transfer and training of farmers on the carbon reductions achieved by adopting the new methods.

Learn more about pilot farms

In Cornwall, two dairy processors are already involved, Saputo Dairy and Trewithen Dairy. They will help support farmers by providing a link to their network of Cornish farms. But, any dairy farmer in Cornwall can get involved.

Cornwall Council is using this project as another opportunity to install new low carbon practices. The plan is that the methane captured from the slurry pits on his farm estate will be used to power the Council’s fleet of vehicles.

The broader ambitions of the project are:

  • use agronomic research to support the transition to greener agriculture,
  • and to make it accessible to all farmers wishing to develop this approach.
  • contribute to a global change in dairy farming practices.

The project aims to disseminate the results throughout the Channel area. This will allow consumers to access low-carbon dairy products at an affordable price.

Climate change is an absolute priority for the municipalities of Cornwall and Finistère. They are working together on a cross-border low-carbon action plan which will also focus on a variety of topics where a joint response is relevant.

Carolyn Reid, Program Manager for the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, said:

“The ABCD project is a fine example of cross-border partnership – Cornwall and Finistère working together to find a common solution to a common problem. By funding this project, we aim to support the transition to a greener dairy industry, with practical solutions that can be implemented on farms in the Channel area and beyond.

Stephen Rushworth, Cabinet Portfolio Holder of the Cornwall Council for the Economy, said:

“By helping farmers estimate and reduce their carbon emissions, the ABCD project will help dairy farmers consider changes to their livestock diets that will reduce their carbon footprint and improve their productivity.”

Martyn Alvey, portfolio holder for environment and climate change, said:

“Projects like this are why Cornwall is recognized as a forward-thinking and innovative region.

“With agriculture accounting for 21% of Cornwall’s carbon emissions and dairy farming an important part of our economy, projects like this that look at dairy farming from a ‘it’s not the cow, it’s the how’ angle, will help us find new approaches to reduce emissions and at the same time advance new technologies and industry.

“It’s a great example of how we can work and learn together, to bring about real change that’s better for people, agriculture and our planet.”

Find more information

Find out more about Low Carbon Agriculture for Dairy Farms (Micro Project) on the Manche Manche website.

Information on the project on the Manche Manche website

About the Interreg CFE program

Interreg France (Channel) England is an EU program created to promote economic development. Focused on the South and East of the UK and the North of France, funding innovative projects that have sustainable and economic benefit.

The objectives include:

  • support innovation
  • improve the attractiveness of the Channel area
  • develop low-carbon technologies

The program met its funding commitment target. In March 2021, 217.5 million euros were committed to 51 projects. 420 of them involve project partners ranging from public institutions to regional authorities. The projects focus on different sectors of the economy ranging from agribusiness to medical technology and tourism.

More information on the Manche Manche website

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