MIV reports on farmer sustainability

Sustainability is the topic for the coming years and the milk sector is on the right track, declares Gisela Runge, executive scientific director of the German Dairy Industry Association (MIV). After a successful pilot phase of the German milk sustainability module at milk producer level, the project will be continued by the dairies from 2020.

Consumers increasingly expect sustainably produced milk and dairy products. This requirement is aimed at both manufacturing and processing companies. The consumer expectation today relates primarily to production. Topics include among other things no synthetic fertilisers, no chemical pesticides, more animal welfare and also economic aspects.

Dairies already have sustainability concepts – some are being set up, others are being further developed. Against this background, science and the dairy industry in Germany developed the QM sustainability module for milk. It is a joint venture between the Thünen Institute for Business Administration and QM-Milch.

With the milk sustainability module, the three pillars of sustainability (economy, ecology and social issues), supplemented by animal welfare, have been anchored even more firmly in milk production. Dairy farmers and dairy representatives from various federal states were involved in the development of the module.

The sustainability module can be used voluntarily by the dairies as a basic tool.

The pilot phase ran from 2017-2020, financed by the BLE (Federal Office for Agriculture and Food) and results from 26 dairies’ responses to surveys were available. Since July 2020, the continuation with the industry solution QM sustainability module 2.0 has been added at the dairy producer level. There are currently 28 dairies from different federal states participating.

In the publicly funded pilot phase for the sustainability module, around 7,500 data sets were collected from farmers. The response rates were good.

It has been shown that milk producers score points with good training, they produce “green energy”, contribute to biodiversity, value animal welfare and volunteer work.

The nationwide general report will be sent to the dairies in 2020. Participating dairies will find out how sustainably milk is produced and at which points, together with their milk producers, further development should be sought.

Farmers can see the benchmark results where they stand in comparison to the other dairy farmers, but also in comparison to the nationwide development. The international competition represents one of the challenges for the dairy industry. This also includes the sustainability issue. The QM sustainability module milk can be an essential pillar at the milk producer level.

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