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39
DECEMBER 2018
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Sustainability Focus
innovation Alltech's Total Replacement
TechnologyTM (TRT).
As a range of organic trace minerals,
Alltech's Bioplex is a true ACE solution,
thanks to the benefits it provides to the
animal, consumer and environment, resulting
in a more sustainable approach to livestock
mineral management.
Carbon emissions
Agriculture is one of the top five carbon
emitters, and the industry is facing complex
challenges when it comes to global
emissions targets -- but this sector is in an
ideal place to improve its carbon footprint
and sustainability.
Agriculture is like all other industries
in that, if we focus our efforts and
technologies toward improving our
resource efficiency, we can reduce our
environmental impact.
What can livestock farmers do to reduce their
environmental impact and improve sustainability?
Production efficiency
Improvements in feed quality and animal well-being have
a direct effect on overall production efficiency. Animals
with healthy guts are better able to absorb nutrients,
resulting in lower input costs for farmers and less
environmental impact through the waste of undigested
nutrients. In light of the current industry reality -- of
ever-tightening margins and rising raw material prices --
these effects bring significant value to farmers who are
eager to see better returns on their investments.
Within a food supply chain, the greatest impact on a
carbon footprint is felt at the farm level. By improving
animal nutrition, feed conversion and use of nutrients, we
stand to reduce the largest proportion of a farm's carbon
footprint.
Animal health and welfare play an important role in farm
business performance, as well as the transparency within
the supply chain. If animals are healthier, then we stand
to reduce losses within the system -- therefore, reducing
waste and environmental impact. Essentially, an animal
compromised by health issues is not using feed resources
for growth and regular bodily maintenance.
This reduces the efficiency of production,
leading to a greater environmental impact.
Growing crops and produce can be
influenced greatly by market volatility and
weather conditions. Nutrients play a key
role in farm productivity -- and, with a focus
on good soil health, we can make better use
of nutrients while also guaranteeing more
fertile soils for future generations. Nutrients
are mainly brought into a farm system
through artificial fertilisers; by improving the
use of organic manures, as well as utilising
precision application of all fertilisers, we stand
to improve the quality of soils whilst also
reducing the need for carbon-intensive fertiliser
products.
Water intakes are crucial to efficiency, and we
must make the best use of water to improve feed
conversion as well as crop production. Water is a
resource ever-growing in scarcity; however, its usage
underpins everything that happens on a farm.
Water footprinting and the efficient usage of water
reserves must go hand-in-hand with carbon reduction
and overall environmental impact. Farmers can be
environmentally friendly and make more money. To help
in this endeavour, Alltech has developed "What If?" This
tool demonstrates to farmers and supply chain managers
that improving profitability can go hand-in-hand with
reducing carbon footprint by utilising resources more
efficiently.
The assurance of sustainable on-farm practices is an
area of increasing importance to the industry, along with
sustainable food production. With growing consumer
awareness, there is a rising long-term global trend
in consumer demand for traceable, sustainable and
environmentally-friendly produce.
As a livestock industry, we must ensure that we
harness this opportunity and demonstrate the effective
management of supply chain environmental performance
from the livestock sector.
This will drive improvements in efficiency, leading to a
more profitable business and a reduced environmental
impact.