Farmers should focus on controllable factors within the ring-fence of their farm to help the agricultural sector reach its carbon neutral goal by 2040.

Speaking at the recent Dairy-Tech 2020, Alltech retail programmes lead, Ian Leach, said: “If, as an industry, we’re going to meet our net zero target we have to make a collective effort to start reducing our carbon footprint. And for that, we need to consider the practical means by which this can be achieved, while fundamentally remaining profitable.”

Within the last five months, more than 100 Alltech Navigate assessments have been carried out looking specifically at how producers can reduce feed waste and optimise input utilisation to help improve the economic and environmental sustainability of farming systems.

He said common findings across all these farms were already being identified. “No two farms are exactly the same. However, there is no denying that feed remains the biggest single variable cost for any dairy producer, costing an average of £230,000 for a 1.5m litre herd.

“Despite this, we know from on-farm pilot studies that feed is also one of the most under-utilised inputs, with as much as 45% of its potential being wasted between field and cow,” said Mr Leach.

“Our assessments are highlighting that losses during ensiling, at feed-out and inside the cow are some of the main areas where producers could be making small improvements to benefit margins, which don’t have to cost the earth, if anything at all, in some cases.

“As an example, over-rolling silage clamps at the end of filling and under-rolling while filling is something we are coming across regularly. Not only is this leading to poor compaction, which negatively impacts fermentation and leads to aerobic instability issues, but farmers are also burning diesel and wasting valuable time by doing this resulting in inefficiencies across the board.”