From Southern Tasmania to Far North Queensland, dairy farmers supplying Lion Dairy & Drinks (Lion) are already starting to see sustainability improvements and cost savings thanks to the 2017 Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grants program.
Last year, Lion and Landcare Australia awarded grants to 10 dairy farmers to help improve sustainability on their farms. Close to $100,000 in funding helped these farmers implement initiatives including increased use of solar power, installation of energy saving equipment, recycling of wastewater and revegetation projects.
The results across the board from the program have been impressive, with farmers already noticing a range of benefits, including a reduction in energy bills, improvements in the efficiency of their operations, lower emissions, and reduced labour and maintenance costs.
Lion Agriculture Procurement Director Murray Jeffrey was excited to see the on-farm results the program has delivered.
“We are really proud to be partnering with Landcare to offer our farmers the tools and resources to address some of the ongoing environmental challenges in the dairy industry. The Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grants Program attracted some fantastic entries last year and a number of successful projects were funded.
“We were really encouraged to see that the projects achieved some great environmental outcomes with many of them also delivering sustainable cost reductions too.”
Landcare Australia Acting CEO, Shane Norrish, is pleased to be able to help support farmers to run more sustainable operations.
“I am delighted that through our partnership with Lion, we continue to be able to support projects that make a tangible difference to the sustainability of farm businesses in Australia. We’re well aware of the increasing challenges that farmers face and welcome any opportunity to help them balance their production requirements with the need to farm sustainability,” he said.
Citing a range of ongoing challenges including increasing costs, electricity outages and difficulties maintaining productivity during drought periods, the grant recipients are pleased with the results from the projects funded through last year’s grants programme and are keen to continue to explore new ways of increasing the sustainability of their farms into the future.
One popular initiative across a number of grant recipients was the installation of heat recovery systems, which reuse heat from milk cooling systems to heat water for cleaning and sterilising. Variable speed drives were also deemed successful when it came to reducing energy use as they adjust speed and power consumption to meet the varying demands of milking. As well as energy-saving benefits, the drives are said to make dairy sheds much quieter and calmer places to work, as well as reducing maintenance and oil costs.
The Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grants program forms part of Lion Dairy Pride, a dairy farm sustainability program launched by Lion in 2016. The program offers farmers who supply Lion a unique way to measure, evaluate and improve key areas of sustainability on their farm.
Key environmental, community and social highlights of the program:
- 8% average energy savings since the implementation of the projects
- 544 energy-efficient devices installed
- 3 ha revegetated
- 500 plants planted
- 90% plant survival
- 4 ha weeding
- 5 ha fencing
- 5 km fencing
- 5 ha habitat protected