Geography of Dairy Farming

questions & answers

Environmental , Social and Economic Imapcts of the primary production

Environmental Impacts

Greenhouse effect

Cows produce a lot of Methane and Nitrous Oxide in their digestion system.These are greenhouse gasses that are about 21 and 296 times as strong as that of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) respectively. Because of these emissions the dairy industry alone contributes 3% to global greenhouse gas emissions (and that is when excluding post-farm (dairy processing) and land use emissions).

Water pollution and soil pollution

Cows also produce a lot of manure which pollute water and soil and can disturb the natural nutrient balance needed for normal plant growth. A single dairy cow produces about 120 pounds of wet manure per day, which is equivalent to the waste produced by 20–40 people. [9] With a dairy herd of 1.6 million cows, this means that the Australian dairy industry produces far more manure than the entire Australian human population.

Overuse of the water and land resources

Dairy production has massive use of water and land area In 2004-2005 the dairy industry was responsible for 19% of all the water used in Australian agriculture. [10] This is more than 12% of all the water used in Australia. Cows need a lot of land to graze on (if they get the opportunity) and the production of their feed also takes up a lot of land area. The production of cattle feed is a major reason for deforestation and is putting pressure on nature both in Australia and overseas.

Social Impacts

Innovations and sustainable development

Martin (2002) suggested that firms, or in our case, farms, can engage with sustainability issues on different levels. Acknowledging the civil foundations of the society they are embedded in, most firms will choose to comply with laws and regulations. An additional step in compliance is the acceptance of norms and customs, as expected by the wider society. Innovations and sustainable development are more likely to occur beyond the compliance levels, at the frontier of production.

Problems with the milk

Some cows are injected with hormone and therefore the milk is not safe to drink.

Economic Impacts