Home News SA's first 'net zero dairy farm' now developed in George

SA’s first ‘net zero dairy farm’ now developed in George

Cow manure produces methane, but net zero is achieved when emissions created by the farm are displaced by removing the same amount of emissions from the atmosphere

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Nestlé announced that it will create the country’s first carbon neutral dairy farm in George in the Western Cape which will benefit the environment and enhance the consumer experience.

The carbon neutral dairy farm will be implemented on Skimmelkrans in George through their net zero carbon emissions project.

Mark Schneider, Nestlé's chief executive. Photo: Supplied
Mark Schneider, Nestlé’s chief executive. Photo: Supplied

“The Skimmelkrans project is a positive step in our sustainability journey. In the context of the global announcement made by our CEO, Mark Schneider, around redoubling efforts to combat climate change, we have committed to reaching a waste-free and zero net emission future within Nestlé by 2050, building on decades of work already done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The project will scale the quality production of our dairy products, therefore, enhancing our consumer experience,” said Saint-Francis Tohlang, corporate communications and public affairs director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR).

Nestlé has committed that by 2023 the farm will be carbon net zero.

How will they do it?

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According to Hoven Meyer, agricultural services group manager at Nestlé, net zero is achieved when emissions created by the farm are displaced by removing the same number of emissions from the atmosphere.

While there are many ways to create more sustainable operations for dairy farms, Skimmelkrans sets itself apart through the soil work, water conservation, feed management and manure processing, where some of the biggest reductions of greenhouse gases occur.

Reducing methane in the environment

Saint-Francis Tohlang, corporate communications and public affairs director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR). Photo: Supplied
Saint-Francis Tohlang, corporate communications and public affairs director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR). Photo: Supplied

Meyer indicates that they are trying to reduce methane in the environment which is produced by cow manure. He says methane is one of the most harmful greenhouse gases emitted into the environment from cattle and dairy farming.

“At Skimmelkrans, cow manure is collected while they graze and then goes into a press that separates the solids form the liquids. This ensures that there is no moisture left in the finished product.

“The solids are released back into the soil as compost, and the liquids go back into the pastures as irrigation, meaning that less methane is released into the air.”

He revealed that in April 2021, the soil will be tested, screened, and analysed by soil experts and the results will determine how much closer the farm is to the net zero carbon emissions goal.

The Skimmelkrans farm also grows their own animal feed and they conserve water which are all practices that result in better care and nutrition for the cows on the farm.

According to Meyer these practises can also create better nutrition in the milk products produced which gives consumers a safe, environmentally friendly product.

“Producing quality milk is crucial to increase the nutritional value of our products without compromising on taste and health. This is particularly important as consumers prefer products with added nutritional benefits as part of their healthy and balanced lifestyles,” added Tohlang.

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Sinesipho Tom
Sinesipho Tom
Sinesipho Tom is an audience engagement journalist at Food for Mzansi. Before joining the team, she worked in financial and business news at Media24. She has an appetite for news reporting and has written articles for Business Insider, Fin24 and Parent 24. If you could describe Sinesipho in a sentence you would say that she is a small-town girl with big, big dreams.
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