Organic milk production is less harmful to the land

Photo Credit: thskyt Photo Credit: thskyt

Researchers out of Sweden have examined the land use impacts of producing organic versus conventional dairy, and found that organic dairy is more environmentally friendly. The study, published recently in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, examined several environmental health markers, including plant species richness and regeneration times of ecosystems to determine land use impacts of dairy rearing on farms with differing management styles. They found that while organic milk production may take more land, the land in use is healthier and production is more sustainable than conventional milk production. Many of the negative impacts associated with conventional production were due to soymeal concentrate feed production, because soy production is often linked to deforestation in countries where it is commonly grown, such as Argentina and Brazil. Organic milk production, on the other hand, primarily relies on pasture grazing, which is less environmentally intensive than feed-based diets. Additionally, when organic livestock diets are supplemented with feed, all products must be USDA certified organic.