NWF are very aware of the impact of farming on the environment. In 2011 NWF sponsored The Farmers Weekly Countryside Farmer of the year competition. There are several things we can do to produce milk and meat more efficiently thus improving carbon footprints, reducing waste and cutting costs.
Profit for Life is a totally new way of looking at the performance of a dairy herd. Profit for Life takes the view that a cow’s contribution to the herd requires her to cover her rearing costs before entering the herd and to then maximise her contribution until she leaves the herd. By aiming to calve heifers at 24 months we are reducing production cost and resources. The number of animals on a farm has a significant effect on the carbon footprint. By calving heifers at 24 months rather than 30 you reduce the number of replacement animals needed by 25%.
The strategies used in profit for life are aimed to target healthy herd planning. Improving fertility and calving intervals, increasing cow longevity and culling and optimising food conversion efficiency and milk production all contribute to a better carbon footprint, less waste and reduced costs. Speak to your local NWF Sales Specialist to find out more about how our Profit for Life strategy could help you.
Through the use of our RPM feed program we are able to target feed cows making sure that cows are not over or under fed. This helps to reduce waste and production costs as well as reducing the incidences of metabolic disease through correct nutritional input. By balancing the amount of fermentable protein and carbohydrate we are best able to match requirement and availability, optimising resources.
Precise mineral rationing means that minerals are not fed in excess. Excessively feeding minerals can have 2 effects:
By using by-products such as distillers, sugar beet pulp and biscuit meal in the mill we are helping to reduce our carbon footprint. By-products have a low carbon impact when used as part of the dairy cow ration as the carbon footprint associated with their production is accountable to the human food chain. In addition, by utilising these raw materials on farm it reduces the amount of waste by-product that would otherwise end up in landfill sites, an area that contributes significantly to global warming.
Precise crop nutrition is essential in order to maximise yields whilst meeting environmental requirements and preserving soil fertility. Effective farming practices are essential in order to avoid soil erosion and nutrient loss. Using historical records and yield monitors provides the information to set realistic yield goals for establishing best management practices for nutrient efficiency. The main drivers are correct application and accurate spreading of fertiliser, seed variety selection, plant population, row spacing, planting date, pest control and machinery usage.
Soil status has to be identified and regular soil analysis every three to four years will provide information on pH, phosphate, potash, and magnesium. These are shown as indices, with 2 being the minimum required in order to achieve optimum yields. Many other nutrients are required for crop growth, for example calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus to name a few, which generally are adequately supplied in the soil, but a deficiency in any one will result in restricted crop yield.
Soil type Heavy soils, those with high organic matter content retain more nutrients than light soils and are less prone to leaching. Nutrient supply must take into account soil type and supply sufficient in order to replace removal and meet peak demand.
Previous cropping. Some crops such as legumes increase soil reserves of nitrogen and so reduce the requirement for additional nitrogen.
Crop use. Milling wheat has a higher nitrogen requirement than feed wheat, whilst malting barley has a lower requirement. If straw is removed as opposed to being ploughed back into the land then the potash requirement is increased.
Expected yield. The higher the yield the greater the offtake of nutrients. Soils supporting high yielding crops, whether it is grass or cereals, require more phosphate and potash in order to maintain soil fertility.
Establishment of these practices ensures precision crop nutrition is achieved which is both economically and environmentally essential. Speak to the NWF Trading team for advice on fertilisers and soil management.
Enquiries: 0800 756 2787
Orders: 0800 262 397
Tel: 01829 261155
Fax: 01829 260061
Post: NWF Agriculture Ltd, Wardle, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6AQ