EVALUATION OF ENERGY FOOTPRINT OF PASTORAL AND BARN DAIRY FARMING SYSTEMS IN NEW ZEALAND

Hafiz Muhammad Abrar Ilyas1, Majeed Safa1, Alison Bailey1, Sara Rauf1, Mat Cullen2

1Department of Land Management and Systems, Lincoln University, New Zealand

2Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, New Zealand

Corresponding author: Hafiz.Ilyas@lincolnuni.ac.nz

 

ABSTRACT

Energy consumption is an important component in determining the sustainability of farming practices. Identification of dairy farming systems with efficient energy consumption at the same time as minimising greenhouse gas emissions is vital. In this context, it is relevant to assess the energy footprint of different dairy farming systems in order to identify a sustainable dairy system for the future of NZ dairy industry.

This research is based on comparative analysis of Pastoral (PDFs) and Barn (BDFs) dairy farming systems in Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 50 dairy farms were investigated, using direct (fuel, electricity, labour) and indirect (fertilizer, feed supplements, machinery and equipment) energy inputs.

The results indicate that PDFs system have 9.5 percent lower energy footprint per hectare than BDFs, mainly due to their greater reliance on pasture based grazing feeding and less use of electricity, fuel and feed supplements. Of interest is that the BDFs use 39% less fertiliser energy but 80% higher feed supplement energy based on the inputs the farmers used. In terms of per kilogram milk solids produced, the PDFs shows 6 % lesser energy footprints compared to BDFs. This research suggests that energy consumption in PDFs in terms of both hectare and milk output is more efficient. However, when considering individual inputs of each system, the energy usage for fertilizer is much higher in PDFs.


BIOGRAPHY

Hafiz Muhammad Abrar Ilyas, an agricultural engineer and PhD research scholar at Lincoln University, New Zealand. My research interests are in dairy farming, especially in farm management systems and practices that lead to sustainability and environmental betterment. My PhD research focuses on evaluation of NZ Pastoral (PDFs) and Barn (BDFs) dairy farming systems in terms of energy footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. This research work has allowed me to dig deeply into different dairy farming systems of New Zealand to understand their energy consumption and efficiencies. The findings of this research will help in making environmental policies regarding NZ dairy farming systems and will also guide farmers to move towards sustainable farm practices. I am looking forward to working alongside farmers to help them optimize their farming systems and meeting environmental targets, while continuing to broaden my knowledge within the primary industries. I enjoy being part of the agricultural groups and has always loved the outdoors and spending time on farms.