Dairy Board maps route to net zero through ELMS test and trial

The test and trial process for the future Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), is looking at two different approaches to land management plans (LMP): action-based and map-based, as well as providing participants with a more general overview of net zero in agriculture and some guidance on completing a greenhouse gas (GHG) calculation.

With the national dairy board being highly engaged in net zero and environment work, members found using paper maps to create an LMP relatively easy, but often repetitive process. However, they could see the value as a starting document for those beginning their net zero journey. There was some concern over the amount of time that this process required, and that these maps should perhaps have a longer lifetime rather than a single year, as the latter may lead to farmers having to request help from consultants and extra costs. It was felt that digital or app-based maps might save time and make the process easier. One board member took this route, but there was recognition that sometimes these apps have payment barriers and may require more training and guidance to use. Overall a map-based approach to capturing actions to reduce GHG emissions was thought to be quite hard to quantify and audit, so perhaps it could sit alongside something else.

Having access to different levels of information and advice is emerging as a common theme from several of the workshops. The dairy board agreed that the needs of all dairy farmers should be catered for. The majority of attendees at this workshop had previous experience of GHG calculators, through their milk buyer arrangements and otherwise.

Dairy board member Ian Harvey said:

“The National Dairy Board are keen to lead the way and work to influence ELMS, to deliver for the diversity of the dairy sector and also for net zero, whilst ensuring that the ELMS approach is holistic and fit for purpose for a thriving and sustainable dairy industry.”