Eating Somerset Cheddar could reduce carbon footprint

Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent cheese producer and producer of renewable energy, has released the results of a study undertaken with its milk supply base to assess the on-farm carbon footprint of milk production on its own farms and in its supply chain.

The project included measurement and assessment of a pilot group of farms who supply milk to Somerset based Wyke Farms, which included their own family farms and Michael Eavis’s world famous Worthy Farm, home of the Glastonbury Festival. Working with Promar International and utilising their in-house tool designed in line with IPCC methodology (2019 refinement), the assessment covered emissions from management of livestock, including heifer rearing, for milk production to ‘farm gate’. Additional questions to the GHG Emissions data set were asked to provide a wider view of the sustainability of the farm business including the following: Animal health and welfare, waste management, land management, water efficiency and energy efficiency.

The results found that the Wyke Farms Pilot Group was 1.12 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM, significantly lower than the UK average of 1.55 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM *¹ and 55% lower than the global average of 2.5 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM *²

The Wyke Farms pilot result was also compared to three Promar Carbon Benchmark data sets of conventional farms who operate similar systems, showing that the Wyke Farms Pilot group is lower by 0.2 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM than the closest data set average. This indicates that the pilot farms are delivering an effective performance based on the information provided, maintaining low emissions against production targets for the individual farm.

The pilot is the first phase of the Wyke Farms ‘Net Positive Farming’ project to work with their milk producers to reduce emissions. Rich Clothier, managing director and third generation family member at Wyke Farms, says: “Somerset, is the true home of Cheddar cheese and is the best place in the world for dairy farming where we can work in synergy with our environment, rather than having to fight against it. Just by getting all our milk supplying farms up to the best 10% we can save 100k tonnes CO on the cheese we make. We are committed to a carbon neutral future for dairying – it is the only way forward.”

Wyke Farms has spent the past 15 years integrating sustainability into the business and:

  • Generates all required gas and electricity from renewables
  • Is one of the UK’s largest independent generators of green gas from waste
  • Produces natural fertilisers for local farms
  • Recovers up to 90% of water


*¹Ecoinvent Data 3.7.1.

*² FAO:

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