Increasing carbon storage on Swedish dairy farms reduces the climate impact

A study from SLU shows that increasing carbon storage in the soil on Swedish dairy farms means that the milk’s climate emissions are smaller than earlier calculated.

Carbon, stored in the agricultural soil benefits the climate and thus has an impact on the milk’s climate footprint.

A research group from SLU has investigated how carbon storage in agricultural soil has changed in Sweden over a ten-year period. The research shows that the storage has increased on both dairy, meat, and plant farms. The largest increase was on dairy farms, where the positive climate effect corresponds to 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare. hectares / year.

Since the mid-90s, researchers from SLU have taken samples and analysed agricultural soil in selected locations.

– We have analysed the content of organic carbon in the soil and its changes over 10 years on dairy farms and compared it with other types of farms, Katharina Meurer, one of the authors behind the study, says and concludes that the increase on dairy farms was significantly higher than on other farms.

It also turned out that the carbon content in the soil was related to how much grass there was on the farm.

Carbon storage in topsoil reduced the climate impact of dairy farms by 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare. hectares / year. This corresponds to a reduction of approximately 0.22 kg of carbon dioxide per kg of milk when the climate benefit is distributed between the milk and the meat from the dairy cows. The reduction is higher than what previous studies have calculated through modulation.

Globally, the soil contains more carbon than the world’s vegetation and atmosphere combined. This means that even a small change in the carbon stock can have a significant effect on the climate impact from e.g., agriculture.

Read the full press release HERE