What are the environmental impact of milk production?

Dairy cows add substantial amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. As the demand for feed crops like corn, alfalfa, and soy grows, they help in some places convert natural habitat into agricultural land. When manure and feed crop production are poorly managed, dairy operations can also have a big impact on water pollution and soil degradation.

AIR: Ammonia emissions in the air have the potential to harm habitats downstream and reduce the diversity of species. Air quality can be negatively impacted by the output of particulate matter and odour from on-farm activities.

WATER: To grow feed, water cows, manage manure, and process goods, dairy operations can use a lot of water. Additionally, dairy farms’ runoff of fertiliser and manure can contaminate water sources. Local waterways have more nutrients, which contribute to the growth of algae, which depletes the oxygen available for aquatic plant and animal life.

HABITAT: Currently, keeping livestock, such as dairy and beef cows, takes up more than two thirds of all agricultural land. Deforestation, excessive grazing, and subpar agricultural methods are largely to blame for the desertification of one-third of the planet’s land area. In some cases, dairy cows’ well-managed grazing can help maintain habitat quality.

SOIL HEALTH: One of the major causes of soil erosion worldwide is livestock farming. Overgrazing, soil impaction from cattle hooves, and conversion of forests into pasture or feed crop production areas can result in a severe loss of topsoil and organic matter that may take decades or centuries to replenish. The soil health of pastures and croplands, however, can be enhanced by properly managed manure application and grazing.

ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE: Due to stress and poor health, improper handling of dairy cows reduces productivity and increases greenhouse gas emissions. Cattle disease can restrict export options, present supply-side risks, and exacerbate inefficient production.

Using better management techniques and technological advancements, farmers can significantly reduce their impact on the environment.

Source : Team Safe Labs