In the recent years, dairy farmers are requested to achieve a sustainable profit to continue their activity and to pay attention to the environment quality. The objectives of this research were to identify and describe intensive dairy farms with an excellent profile in term of environmental and economic sustainability and milk nutritive value. The research involved 28 dairy farms located in the North of Italy, members of a cheese factory, which produces Grana Padano cheese O.P.D. Through personal interviews to the farmers, a questionnaire was addressed to obtain information about the crop systems, fuel consumption, animals management, housing systems, feeding strategies, purchased feeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Environmental impacts of milk production were assessed through a cradle-to-farm-gate Life Cycle Assessment considering global warming, eutrophication, acidification, land use and energy use; the functional unit was 1 kg Fat Protein Corrected Milk (FPCM). To estimate farm economic sustainability, gross margin and income over feed cost (IOFC) were calculated; milk quality was defined by fat and protein percentages. The environmental impacts and the economic and milk quality parameters of each farms were indexed from 1 to 3 (bad to good), based on distance from the average values of the group of farms. From the joint of the five environmental indices, a global sustainability index was calculated. Farms were classified on the basis of dairy e ciency (DE=kg FPCM/kg DMI). High e cient herds (DE 1.4) performed better in terms of for global warming, energy use and eutrophication showing higher indices than the herds with low e cient cows (DE=<1.2). This result is explained by the characteristics of the high e cient herds: high milk production (31.0 2.88 kg FPCM/cow day), medium feed self-su ciency (60.3 14.0 %), balanced cow diet (1.35 0.41 forage/concentrate). These herds produced high quantity of milk with less feed, reducing the environmental impacts related to feed production. As manure and enteric emissions weigh a lot on global warming potential, achieving high production levels with less animals allows to mitigate the climate impact per milk unit. Eutrophication is mainly due to crop production activities on-farm; as a consequence farms with high feed selfsu ciency, that produced most of their feed on-farm, have high eutrophication impact. They tend to administer high forage diets that negatively a ect milk production, increasing impacts per unit of product. In conclusion the excellent farms were the farms with high dairy e ciency, they showed the best performances in terms of both milk quality, economic results and environmental sustainability.
|Titolo:||Excellent dairy farming profile|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Data di pubblicazione:||mag-2014|
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|