Irish Dairy: Our Journey to Sustainability

Irish Dairy: Our Journey to Sustainability

For generations, Ireland has had a tradition of family farming with farms handed down from generation to generation. For that reason it is second nature to our farmers to continue their role as custodians of the land under Ireland’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).

The Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS)

The SDAS is the first national dairy scheme of its kind anywhere in the world. It sets out requirements for best practice on Irish dairy farms in animal health and welfare, land management, biosecurity, safe farming practices and the production of safe milk. It also provides a framework for measuring the continuous improvement of each participating farmer, recording and monitoring sustainability credentials at farm level.

The SDAS calculates the greenhouse gas emissions of each participating dairy herd using the carbon navigator tool and provides detailed feedback to each farmer helping them to improve the sustainability performance of their farm.

It is remarkable too for its traceability component. One of the most accurate in the world, it means we can follow the movements of each animal from the day it is born to the end of its life.

The Carbon Navigator

The Carbon Navigator tool is used to measure and improve carbon efficiency on Irish dairy farms across 5 win-win efficiency measures:
– Length of the Grazing Season
– Improved Genetics and Breeding (increased EBI)
– Improved Nitrogen Efficiency
– Improved Manure Management
– Energy Efficiency

Farm by farm, we are measuring and improving.

Now being implemented on effectively all of Ireland’s 18,000 dairy farms, the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme is a rigorous, independently verified and internationally accredited programme. (European Standard for Product Certification – ISO 17065: 2012)


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