[7 December/Farmers Weekly]

New work indicates arable farms can play a big part in helping to mitigate the environmental footprint of pastoral livestock. Presenting on the environmental benefits of arable feeds at the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) annual Crops Expo, Lincoln University livestock production expert Professor Pablo Gregorini and FAR researcher, Ivan Lawrie, delivered a progress update on a two-year monitoring project. They acknowledged that achieving animal production goals while also meeting social and environmental constraints is complex. In response to political and public pressures on dairying, strategies are being explored to reduce the amount of nitrogen going through dairy cows. As some diets aimed at reducing urinary nitrogen might increase methane it is difficult for farmers to balance environmental, productive and profitability targets. The researchers concluded that there is no perfect diet to optimise all objectives simultaneously, adding farmers need to choose the options that best suits their farming system and environmental.