This project explores new ways to make dairy systems better for the natural environment and farmers’ livelihoods, while maintaining the long-term supply of dairy products at reasonable prices in the face of unpredictable challenges like climate change. Its aim is to combine the latest natural, social and veterinary science with industry expertise and experiential farmer knowledge, to devise and test innovations that could increase the resilience and sustainability of dairy farming

It investigates a range of innovative, practical measures developed with, and applied by, major players in the dairy industry in collaboration with dairy farmers in the north of England and south of Scotland. Examples include:

  • Identifying cost-effective farm and sector-level interventions that can enact the principles contained in the Dairy 2020 Vision and the Leading the Way Sustainable Growth Plan and deliver measurable improvements in environmental sustainability and resilience of milk supply
  • Working with dairy farmers, the dairy industry and the Government to develop new pricing models based on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) that reward more sustainable production decisions and enable farmers to adapt more effectively to future change
  • Co-developing new techniques for loosening compacted soils and methods from precision agriculture.

The research has been designed to build on, and work closely with a significant and active programme of dairy farmer engagement in two study areas that are being carried out by Nestlé and its partners 3Keel, Business in the Community, Innovation for Agriculture, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rivers Trusts and the Wildlife Trusts. This brings a pool of 100 farmers to the project to collaborate on the research.

The project runs from 2018-2021 and is led by Professor Mark Reed (Newcastle University) with Universities of Leeds and Liverpool, in collaboration with Nestle, Business in the Community, the Rivers Trusts, Innovation for Agriculture, 3Keel and other players in the dairy industry and Government. This £1.5M four-year project is funded by the Research Council’s Global Food Security programme.

More information here