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Dairy Council

Sustainable Dairy

Sustainable dairy is important to us. Our dairy sector in Northern Ireland recognises its responsibility to produce high quality milk and dairy products in ways that are efficient and safeguard our environment.

At each stage in the dairy supply chain, from farm to fork, the sector is making significant progress on the journey to continue to improve our environmental sustainability.

Northern Ireland dairy processing businesses are investing in new technologies to continue to improve efficiency including increased use of renewable energy and waste reduction. NI dairy farmers too are taking measures to lower their carbon footprint and reduce emissions, and, with farming practices such as hedge management, to protect and nurture wildlife habitats and promote biodiversity.  

Working with local experts at NI agri-science institutes and government agencies has enabled cutting-edge sustainability research to be taken through and applied on Northern Ireland dairy farms.

Increasingly efficient practices and use of resources have paid dividends ….. since 1990….


  • Reduction in the carbon intensity of 1 litre milk 


  • Reduction in emissions from manure 


  • Reduction in fuel and electricity emissions


  • Reduction in methane emissions from fermentation in cows’ guts


  • Reduction in emissions from fertiliser production and application 

And we are working hard to make even more improvements for sustainable dairy

Case Study Videos

DCNI has produced a series of videos as part of the EU Sustainable Dairy Programme showcasing sustainable dairy practices in Northern Ireland. From local research projects which have led to significant environmental benefits on farms, to cutting-edge technologies adopted by our dairy processors to improve energy efficiency. 

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Nature Positive Dairy

We are delighted to have partnered with the RSPB in Northern Ireland on the Nature Positive Dairy initiative. We are working together to improve biodiversity on NI dairy farms through nature-friendly practices such as high-quality hedgerows, wildlife corridors and grazing management.

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Fact books

As part of EU Sustainable Dairy Programme, the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland publishes a series of fact books, which detail some of the key research and knowledge transfer initiatives from the Northern Ireland dairy sector. 

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As part of the EU Sustainable Dairy Programme, DCNI holds a series of Symposia bringing together dairy sector leaders and sustainability experts to share their knowledge and experience of the latest research and best practice.


School resources

Sustainable Farming is an online resource for GCSE Agriculture and Land Use from the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment developed in collaboration with the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland. 

Find out more