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Carbon emissions take centre stage at Bath & West Dairy Show

Practical ways to lower carbon emissions will take centre stage at this year’s Dairy Show, where farmers can expect the latest advice, research and tools to help them on the path to net zero.

Dairy show cow waiting in pen black and white

‘Reduce what you can. Offset what you can’t’ represents the carbon theme for The Dairy Show and its seminars. The show takes place on Wednesday 4th October at the Bath & West Showground in Somerset.

Chairman of The Dairy Show David Cotton, chose the carbon theme in light of growing pressure on the industry to lower its environmental impact and improve sustainability. “We wanted to go with carbon because very often, if you lower your carbon footprint, it helps overall business performance,” he explains.

The seminars will highlight ways farmers can tackle specific areas within their business to help reach the industry’s target of net zero by 2040. Mr Cotton says it’s important not to get hung up on the small stuff.

“It’s the things you can do over time that will make a difference to carbon footprint, whether that’s breeding, soil management, or efficiency through energy use,” he adds.

What you can expect at The Dairy show

As usual, there will be a wide array of trade stands at the event. Many will offer support on all aspects of dairy farming from grass management to financial planning, milk testing, animal health, and machinery.

Farmers looking for practical solutions to lower methane emissions and energy costs might find the answer during Bennamann’s presentation in the seminar area. The company’s Grant Crawford will showcase their innovative system. It enables farmers to cover their slurry lagoons and convert the captured fugitive methane into fuel. You can use this to power farm vehicles or a farm generator.

“We do all the processing on farm and we sell the energy back to the farmer at a really competitive rate compared to what they’re currently paying and we aim to fix that for five years,” Mr Crawford explains. On one Cornish dairy, such a system has reduced emissions by 87% while the energy produced has provided an additional income stream.

Becky Wilson at Farm Carbon Toolkit will explain how management changes can influence emissions and business performance. She will also highlight recent trial work on soil carbon sequestration. “I’ll be sharing our experiences of our work over the last three years on the Farm Net Zero project, alongside the work that we have been doing with Yeo Valley to bring data that shows how farmers can reduce emissions and improve carbon storage on dairy farms,” she says.

dairy show supreme champion riverside engineer
A total of 57 showing classes will take place on the day, with six breed categories in total.

More showcases on getting to net zero

Vet Andy Adler at MoleCare Vets will be taking a philosophical approach to how farmers can reach net zero. He’ll be introducing the business concept of ‘weed, seed and feed’, focusing on giving up what’s not needed, nurturing what is, and monitoring results.

“If you continue with your system as is, which was set up in an era focused on chemically driven food production, you could struggle to get to net zero,” he says. “You need to ensure people and stock are healthy and stress-free by investing in leadership and values to create a clear plan for your farm and animals.”

The carbon theme fits well with the ethos of headline sponsor, Mole Valley Farmers. Its Climate Positive Agriculture initiative is aimed at helping farmers lower their farm’s environmental impact. This includes detailing the carbon footprint on the label of all of their own compounds and blends.

Competitions Executive Naomi Guiver says as always dairy cattle remain at the heart of The Dairy Show. “We have 57 showing classes taking place on the day, including showmanship and calf classes.

“Five breeds will be showcased, plus the Any Other Dairy Breed class. And we’ll also be hosting the Jersey and Guernsey National Shows. Entries close on 19 September, so get those entries in now!”

All you need to attend

The Dairy Show takes place on Wednesday 4th October 2023 at The Bath & West Showground – The Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 6QN. Gates open at 8.30am and parking at the event is free.

You can book tickets online at www.bathandwest.yourticketbooking.com/p/thedairyshow

If you are looking to enter any of the competitions, go to www.bathandwest.com/entry-registration/. Remember, competition entries close on 19 September.

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