Rushywood Farm Trial- Reducing farm carbon footprints with envirolac
Rushywood Farm, Somerset

Reducing carbon footprints at Rushywood Farm with envirolac

Reducing the farm carbon footprint has been an important aim for former RABDF Gold Cup Winner Neil Baker for over a decade, with a focus on home-grown forages a key component to helping him achieve that.

The opportunity to consider an alternative to palm-derived fats to support dietary energy density seemed a logical next step in his ‘circular farming’ operations, but it was important there was no compromise on yield or components.

UFAC saw a fantastic opportunity to replace the alternative fat supplements that they were using with envirolac. envirolac has replaced calcium soap in the ration at Rushywood Farm since December 2022.

The ration currently fed to Rushywood Farm’s 1,800 dairy cows is made up of maize and grass silage, at a proportion of 2-to-1, with 30kg maize and 15-17 kilos grass, fresh-weight. This is balanced with rape meal as the main source of protein, with an inclusion rate of 250g of envirolac added to balance the energy.

Farm facts

  • Arla regenerative pilot farm
  • 1800 milking cows
  • 11,500 litres of milk average per cow
  • 3-times a day milking
  • 3200 acres of land
  • Diet made up of 75% home-grown forages
  • RABDF Gold Cup Winner in 2015

The Challenges at Rushywood Farm

Reducing the farm carbon footprint whilst maintaining herd health and performance has been an important aim for Neil Baker at Rushywood Farm in Somerset.
carbon footprinting

Carbon footprinting

More and more, we are seeing concerns over the environment as a top priority within the agricultural industry.

Dairy farming is vulnerable to environmental concerns in the eyes of the consumer. Rushywood Farm has been looking into carbon footprinting for the last 10 years in a bid to reduce it’s carbon footprint at farm level.

Balancing Forages

Increasing home-grown forages

With feed being such a large part of the business, from both a financial and carbon cost, Neil Baker and his dairy herd manager, Diana Guitane, have a focus on both producing and maximising the use of home-grown forages.

By focusing on cultivations, timings and varieties, the farm is now able to grow more and better forages, pushing home-grown feeds to around 75% for the dairy herd.

maintaining performance

Maintaining performance

On an Arla contract, where payments are based on solids, attention to herd health and performance has always been crucial.

The challenge was to find something that could at least maintain equal performance, if not exceed what was being achieved with palm-derived fat supplements, but with a reduced environmental footprint.

How can envirolac help?

The palm-free fat supplement for dairy farming and environmental sustainability

As consumers become more conscious of the environmental impacts of food production, many dairy farmers are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices on their farms.

envirolac, UFAC’s palm-free fat supplement, is the solution for farming and environmental sustainability, proven to increase milk yields and quality while offering a lower carbon footprint than palm-oil-based fat supplements.

envirolac aims to assist with the reduction of palm deforestation

envirolac aims to assist with the reduction of palm deforestation, reduce the carbon footprint of UK milk production, offer the potential to increase the health-giving benefits of dairy products and improve farmer efficiency and profitability.

It has been designed to increase dietary energy density while optimising rumen fermentation and prime liver function in order to increase milk yield and constituents and improve cow health and fertility.

The Decision Process of Feeding envirolac

As dairy herd manager, Diana has always focused on improving fertility and yield performance while looking at opportunities to reduce carbon numbers. Diana has monthly meetings with nutritionists based on how the cows are performing, and part of that analysis determines when or if extra energy supplies are required to balance the diet. She was made aware of envirolac while in discussion with UFAC's Mark Townsend.

Furthermore, a trial undertaken by Professor Phil Garnsworthy, found that not only was the environmental impact of envirolac far lower than that of palm-based fats, but it also demonstrated an improvement in performance. While the trial had initially hoped for equal performance, replacing palm on a like-for-like basis, it actually resulted in higher performance. Milk yield went up, and with the higher fat and protein content, the palm-free product produced 1.6kg extra energy corrected milk per day.

envirolac's Goals

  • Assist with the reduction of palm deforestation
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of UK milk production
  • Offer the potential to increase the health benefits of dairy products
  • Improve dairy farm efficiencies, profitability and sustainability

Diana Guitane, Rushywood Farm Herd Manager

Diana Rushywood Farm

“Herd health and performance is key for our contracts. As we supply on an Arla Tesco contract, where payments are based on solids, butterfat and proteins are important.”

Diana Guitane, Herd Manager

Mark Townsend, UFAC Business Manager South West

Mark Townsend

“The supplement is home-produced, using no palm products whatsoever. We blend soft, very highly digestible oils onto dry carriers such as wheat-feed and maize corn cob, and then blend that together."

Mark Townsend, Business Manager South West

The Solution and Implementation

The farm placed an initial 10-tonne order in consultation with the nutritionist, including it as part of the TMR across all milking groups. The ration is made up of maize and grass silage, at a proportion of 2-to-1, with 30kg maize and 15-17kg grass, fresh-weight. This is balanced with rapemeal as the main source of protein, with an inclusion rate of 250g of envirolac added to balance the energy.

The Results

Since feeding the product from December 2022, there has been no drop in components, and the yield has remained consistent. The herd is averaging 36 litres per cow per day, at 4.2% butterfats and holding 3.5% protein, even in high heat levels experienced during the summer.

Herd Manager Diana Guitane, says: “Ultimately, we aim for 45 litres per cow across the whole herd, including heifers, with this diet. Depending on the DMI, we will adjust and manage what they eat, but everything will be presented with the same ration. The fact that we can also help further reduce our carbon footprint in our aim to achieve this is a real benefit."

“If we look at the last twelve months and compare, the average daily yield has increased since envirolac has been part of that ration. We feel that it is performing and it is supporting energy requirements for the cows, it helps us balance rations so there is definitely a place for it here," she says.

Benefits of feeding envirolac

  • High return on investment
  • Higher feed conversion
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Increases butterfat production
  • Achieves higher milk yields
  • More palatable for cows
Averaging
36 lt
Milk yield (per cow, p/d)
Holding
4.2%
Butterfat
Holding
3.5%
Protein

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