Modelling net Carbon emissions from dairy production systems (PhD)


Project code:
01 October 2020 - 30 September 2023
AHDB Dairy, Agri-Food Charities Partnership (AFCP)
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
University of Nottingham

About this project

The Challenge

While livestock production supports livelihoods and food security, there are increasing concerns regarding the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) at a global level: according to the FAO, livestock produces globally about 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle accounting for approximately 65% of livestock emissions. In the UK, however, the contribution of livestock is significantly lower than the global average. In response to the global climate crisis, the UK government has set a national target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the National Farmers Union declaring its own more ambitious net zero target of 2040 for the whole agricultural sector in England and Wales.

For the industry to reduce carbon emissions whilst growing output, the dairy sector will need to increase the efficiency of production and offset the carbon emitted.

The Project

The current project aims to create a whole farm simulation model of a UK dairy farm, to assess the stages and emissions of the system. This will show how different feeds, manure handling strategies and production management systems can impact greenhouse gas emissions, as well as evaluating the costs of different strategies and the potential of soil, trees and hedgerows to absorb carbon, to offset emissions of the dairy system. The model will help providing farmers with the information they require to increase the efficiency of their farm and decrease their carbon footprint.


Fern Baker, University of Nottingham