Improving dairy resilience, efficiency, emissions [VIDEO]
DSM’s Luis Tamassia examines the different feeding strategies for carbon-neutral milk production
The greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by poultry and livestock production accounts for 14.5% of total GHG emissions worldwide. As all sectors strive to reduce their environmental footprint, dairy farmers must adopt innovative technologies to reduce their emissions, hopefully, while improving the efficiency and sustainability of their operations.
In advance of his Feed Strategy Seminar session on November 16 at EuroTier 2022, Luis Tamassia, DSM’s global innovation lead for ruminants, joins the Chat to discuss how feeding strategies can improve resilience, efficiency and sustainability in dairy production.
Feeding strategies to improve diary resilience, efficiency & sustainability from Steven T Kilger on Vimeo.
Transcript: Feed Strategy Chat featuring Luis Tamassia, global innovation lead – ruminants, DSM Animal Nutrition and Health
Jackie Roembke, editor in chief, WATT Feed brands/Feed Strategy: Hello everyone and welcome to Feed Strategy Chat. I am your host, Jackie Roembke, editor in chief of WATT Feed brands and Feed Strategy magazine.
This edition of Feed Strategy Chat is brought to you by DSM, a global, purpose-led leader in health and nutrition, applying bioscience to improve the health of people, animals and the planet. Spanning essential products, performance solutions plus Biomin and Precision Services, DSM Animal Nutrition and Health’s offering provides customers a broad and innovative toolset for sustainable and profitable animal farming.
Today we’re joined on Zoom by Luis Tamassia, the global innovation lead for ruminants at DSM Animal Nutrition and Health. He’s here to explore how feeding strategies can improve resilience, efficiency and sustainability in dairy production.
Hi, Lewis, how are you today?
Luis Tamassia, global innovation lead – ruminants, DSM Animal Nutrition and Health: Hi, I’m fine. Good to talk to you about this important topic.
Roembke: Excellent. Thank you so much for being here. Well, let’s get right into it. Briefly describe the current challenges the global dairy industry faces when seeking to limit its environmental footprint.
Tamassia: Sustainability and low-carbon milk is nowadays a reality, and all stakeholders in the dairy value chain have important roles to play. Commitment on all sides is the key to success. Suppliers, farmers, dairy industry, distributors, retailers, and consumers, key opinion leaders, consultants, nutritionists, vets and academia all must together join forces for sustainable milk production and dairy products with lower carbon footprints.
One important challenge is the pressure in some countries to reduce the herd number in order to reduce emissions, particularly methane. There are some other, more efficient tools instead of reducing the number of animals to reduce emissions. If the number of animals is reduced, it is not only an inefficient way to reduce emissions, but also can cause a negative social impact because many people depend directly and indirectly on milk production. So the stakeholder’s perception and engagement to lower the carbon footprint is really a variable in different countries and regions. This is really important to keep in mind.
Private companies and government commitments and support to implement effective sustainable solutions are also important elements to succeed with environmental challenges.
Join us on November 16 at EuroTier 2022 for Luis Tamassia’s presentation “Feeding strategies to improve resilience, efficiency & sustainability in dairy cows” | Hall 12 @ 16:00-17:00
Roembke: How can feed producers and nutritionists serving the dairy industry to best support their downstream customers’ net zero emission targets and other sustainability goals?
Tamassia: First of all, by fostering a common understanding of how important sustainability and environment footprint reductions are and the capability to really implement effective solutions.
Considering that feed ingredients are responsible for up to 80% of dairy’s carbon footprint, feed producers and nutritionists have an extremely important role with formulating feeds and diets — not only based on animal nutritional requirements and cost optimization, but in the selection of the key feed ingredients that can definitively reduce the overall carbon footprint in milk production.
The new normal in dairy cow nutrition definitively includes sustainability actions. The type and region of feed ingredients, logistics, transportation, their inclusion or not, are some key topics to consider when formulating the diets. Working with environmental lifecycle assessment (LCA), a footprint calculator is a starting point to have a clear baseline overview on the environmental impact on their production. From there, producers can set targets and plan their reduction strategies, making progress towards farm and industry targets.
It is really important to have a very clear baseline and define the targets in the actions to really reduce the carbon footprint in milk production.
Roembke: Very good. How can dairy farmers best leverage data and innovative technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operations?
Tamassia: Yeah, also a very good question. So, sustainable solutions have been implemented in different countries, like better manure management, animal performance improvements, health and animal welfare improvements, land-use optimization, feed production, and quality of the feed, and many others.
Sustainable programs have also been implemented in different countries and all those initiatives can be used as models — or at least as insights to develop new local plans for carbon-neutral milk in different countries, different farms, different regions. For instance, some lifetime lifecycle assessment tools and carbon footprint calculators are also available to establish the firm baseline, as I mentioned before, and then define their targets as in plan of actions.
We’ve been working, for instance, with numerous customers using an ISO-assured, user-friendly LCA tool to calculate the carbon footprint and production system environmental aspects. Based on official guidelines — such as FAO, IPCC, European guidelines — definitively to define the interventions that will improve the sustainability on their operations.
It’s really important, again, to have a clear baseline of the carbon footprint, in each case, in each farm, in each production system, to really have a clear target into implement effective solutions and initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint.
Roembke: Please explain how feed additives can help achieve these targets.
Tamassia: Feed additives are key tools to help farmers reach low- or carbon-neutral milk production. It’s easy to use, adding value and supporting sustainable milk production.
Let me explain better: So, the first parameter to tackle is the methane emission directly, since it’s an important greenhouse gas produced from a natural processes, such as enteric fermentation in the rumen as a co-product of feed digestion. 3-nitrooxypropanol is the active compound to develop effectively and to reduce at least 30% of the methane emissions in dairy cows and this reduction can be even higher depending on the dosage, the diet composition and the customer targets. So we can manage the diet composition to definitively reach the customer’s or the farmer’s targets on methane reduction.
Also, there are some other tools to really reduce the carbon footprint per kilo of milk production. For instance, improving animal performance and feed optimization are two important elements that can reduce the carbon footprint. For example, increasing the starch digestibility from corn with an amylase can increase the energy uptake, producing more milk with the same feed, improving the feed efficiency and lowering the carbon footprint per kilo of milk production.
Another way to improve performance and for a positive effect on carbon footprint is the rumen modulation. For instance, it can work with essential oils to reduce the nitrogen excretion through better protein utilization. This is another way to increase performance and also reduce the carbon footprint.
And last but not least: cows’ longevity improvement by fertility improvement and lifetime performance for the cows are also effective tools to reduce the carbon footprint. It can be reached with better vitamin nutrition supporting gut health and specifically better supplementation during the transition period to improve the fertility and pregnancy rate. Another way is to improve the calcium and phosphorus metabolism, reducing the emissions in the environment of phosphorus because phosphorus, together with nitrogen are two important elements in this sustainability discussion.
In summary, feed additives can definitely play an important role in the performance and longevity, also lifetime performance and emissions directly and indirectly, and it’s a very easy way to reach the low-carbon milk production using these technologies, that again, it’s very easy to implement at farm level.
Roembke: Thank you so much for those insights. If you’ll be in Hannover for EuroTier 2022, join us on November 16, 2022, from 4-5 p.m. in Hall 12 on the Dairy Forum Stage for the Feed Strategy Seminar session, “Feed additive solutions for reducing emissions in dairy production.”
Or for more information about the solutions discussed here today, visit www.dsm.com.
Thank you so much for this. And thanks to you for tuning in.
EuroTier 2022 Technical Session:
Feed additive solutions for reducing
emissions in dairy production
Nov. 16, 2022 | Hall 12 | 16:00-17:00
Feeding strategies to improve resilience, efficiency
and sustainability in dairy cows
Speaker: Luis Tamassia, global innovation – ruminants lead, DSM Animal Nutrition and Health
Description: Eighty percent of the world’s population regularly consumes dairy products. Ruminants have a key role to play in sustainable food systems by turning inedible materials into highly nutritious foods, enhancing the productivity of marginal land, and contributing to the socioeconomic development of rural communities. However, ruminants account for a portion of the greenhouse gases emitted by livestock, which across species represents on average 14.5% of total GHG emissions. To meet the nutritional needs of a growing global population while remaining within planetary boundaries, dairy farmers must leverage data and innovative technologies in order to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operations. This presentation explores proven feeding strategies to improve dairy production in terms of healthy animals, healthy incomes for farmers and a healthy planet.