Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
As precision farming options are becoming available to relieve human workload, energy requirements on farm are going to change as these options are implemented. Researchers from the University of Sassari in Italy investigated the flow on energy changes after a real-time milk analysis and separation system was implemented for milking.
What did the research involve?
Three farms in Italy were used and the inputs/expenditure measured from milking to the making of soft cheese. Units for calculation were set as follows; 100 kg of milk processed, 1 kg of a traditional soft cheese produced. Farms were characterised and instruments had energy use recorded, and the real-time milk analysis system installed. Energy and environmental audits were conducted pre- and post- installation, and covered from milking to making cheese, including delivery.
What were the key findings?
The researchers found that at a farm level, there was a slight increase in energy requirements of 1.1%, and environmental impact of 4.4%. From milk collection/delivery to making the soft cheese, the separation of milk into different components meant energy use decreased about 44%, and the emissions of carbon dioxide was reduced by 69% across the entire chain.
Across the entire milk chain, from milking to cheese making, the researchers estimate 2.65 MJ of primary energy every 100 kg of processed milk was saved by the installation of the real-time milk analysis and separation system.