The NFU’s Dairy Environmental Issues Group (DEIG) met on 1 December to discuss ammonia emissions in the dairy sector.The agenda included speakers from AHDB, Rothamsted Research, the Environment Agency and the Defra air quality team. Discussion centred on current environmental practice, data availability and future targets.
The UN National Emissions Directive has set a UK target for a 16% reduction in ammonia emissions by 2030. Current practice puts the UK on course for a drop of just 2%. The group emphasised the need for better on-farm tools to encourage best practice; for instance an easy to use and outcome led Nutrient Management Planning tool or a capital allowance grant on slurry store improvements to incentivise change.
The meeting highlighted the need for more robust and accurate data to benchmark current levels of farm emissions and clearer guidelines to resolve planning issues for slurry stores, particularly on tenanted land. There is recognition within the industry of the need to reduce pollution incidences to meet targets but it was emphasised that any changes need to be outcome driven and supportive of efficiency to encourage uptake.
Defra plan to publish a code of good agricultural practice for ammonia reduction in the New Year.
The DEIG is a producer taskforce which sits under the Dairy Roadmap; an industry task force set up to drive sustainability efforts across the length of the supply chain. The group includes members from AHDB Dairy, Dairy UK and the National Farmers Union.