A new report published by ASDA is shining a light on climate-related risks in agriculture and reveals the impacts a changing climate may have on UK dairy production.

The introduction of UK Climate-related Financial Disclosure legislation (TCFD) in January 2021, requires large businesses to report on any risks posed by climate change that have a material impact on the value of the company and its assets. Many corporate businesses are already starting to report on their risks. However, ASDA wanted to look deeper into its supply chain and apply the framework of climate-related risk assessment at a dairy farm level.

Head of sustainability at Kite Consulting, an AB Dairy Business, and author of the report, Hayley Campbell Gibbons, said: “For a long time, agriculture has been under the microscope when it comes to its contribution towards climate change, but it’s time to expand the conversation to include an understanding of the risks climate change poses to food production.

“The report highlights the importance of understanding weather-related risks and impacts across all aspects of a dairy farm business and identifies ways to build resilience on-farm.

“From managing temperature stress in the herd and monitoring disease threats, through to adapting to variable growing and grazing conditions and coping with any logistical challenges the weather may present, knowing how a changing climate might impact a dairy farm business, and what can be done to manage it will be fundamental to producing milk successfully in the future.

“Crucially, milk processors should also be assessing the resilience of their milk pools, as well as their own operations, in the face of climate change in the medium and long term.”

Chief executive at AB Agri, José Nobre, said: “All too often, the climate conversation within agriculture is focused solely on the work we are doing, as an industry, to reduce the carbon emissions associated with food production. Whilst this is important, the ASDA report shines a light on how the effects of climate change, such as more volatile weather conditions, may come to impact the whole farming industry.

“We hope this report will result in a long overdue shift in focus from those who rely on the outputs of our industry, such as policymakers and consumers. This would enable greater support for the industry and ensure food production is safeguarded for future generations.”