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Dairy 4 Future

The Atlantic area encompassing regions along the Atlantic coastline of Europe is well positioned to meet growing global demand for dairy products. The area includes the west of Scotland, the entire island of Ireland, Wales and south west England, the west of France, the Northern coastline of Spain and Portugal. The area has favourable climatic conditions for fodder production, well-educated farmers and efficient dairy processing and manufacturing businesses. There are important dairy producing and exporting regions accounting for 20% of EU milk production.  

Dairy farms in the Atlantic area face several challenges including economic viability, complying with environmental regulations and future challenges such as climate change. The Dairy-4-Future project aims to increase the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of dairy farms in the Atlantic area. It is funded by the Interreg Atlantic Area Program.

The key questions in this project are:

  1. How sustainable are the farms that produce our milk
  2. What can be done to improve the sustainability and the sustainable image of these farms.

A network of 100 commercial dairy farms has been established including 10 commercial dairy farms in each of the following regions:

  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Southwest England
  • Ireland
  • Normandy
  • Brittany
  • Pays de Loire
  • Basque Country
  • Galicia
  • Portugal and the Azores Islands (which account for 30% of Portuguese milk production).

Many aspects of sustainability are being measured including

  • economic performance
  • nutrient use efficiency
  • carbon footprint
  • ammonia footprint.

The goal is to improve the economic performance and environmental footprint of dairy farming by identifying and demonstrating best practices leading to practical recommendations tailored to the socio-economic, climatic and soil conditions in each region. Recommendations will be widely disseminated in the Atlantic Area.