LOW Moor Farm is a 136-hectare dairy farm situated near Newby just south of Penrith. Collaborating with Carbon Metrics, Virgin Money continue work towards the green agenda by conducting on-farm carbon audits.

farms are generating, highlighting areas for consideration and mitigation opportunities, which will significantly benefit both farms and the environment in the future.

Low Moor Farm houses a total of 555 head, broken down as follows:

· 259 cows in milk

· 42 dry cows

· 135 replacement heifers

· 119 dairy calves

In addition, the farm also manages grassland for both grazing and silage for winter forage.

Business Strengths Two main strengths were highlighted by the audit at Low Moor

1. Improved carbon footprint. Over the last two years, the Millicans have successfully managed to reduce the overall carbon output of the farm by 1.6million kilograms per kg of product sold when compared to a previous audit in 2019. This has been successfully achieved through the introduction of a beef bull to the dairy herd, as well as reducing the number of replacements kept on farm. Currently the farm is emitting 1.47kg per kg of product sold, however Arla’s benchmark for its dairy farmers is 1.15kg per kg sold so the Millicans are eager to improve this further.

2. On farm data. A great resource of up-to-date on farm data is available, showing recent performance figures. This means the farm is able to have effective short and long term plans to improve productivity and reduce carbon emissions.

Mitigation Actions for Low Moor:

· Completing a second audit using the data already established to verify the levels of emissions and trends shown in the results allows these areas to be prioritised. In addition, a second audit will allow for areas of the business to be assessed using different carbon auditing tools, which may have otherwise been missed or calculated differently.

· Improving nutrient management through the construction of a new slurry lagoon in order to increase capacity and reduce the amount of slurry spread on the land. In turn, this will reduce fuel consumption, soil compaction and erosion which will create a healthier environment for crop growth. It will also mean that nutrient uptake is improved due to only applying slurry when it is required by the crop, which in turn will reduce the need for additional fertiliser applications.

· Improve forage quality by improving the nutrient management on the farm’s grassland. Not only will this help to improve the quality of the grass crop, it will also improve the overall silage quality which will reduce the amount of feed bought in, further helping to drive the farm towards NetZero.

Areas for consideration:

· Long term plan for improved productivity. The farm has been hugely successful in reducing its carbon footprint over the last two years. However, in order to establish a long term plan, careful consideration must be made as to how these changes can be sustained and how to move forward whilst effectively further reducing carbon emissions. This could include areas such as improving grassland and the options surrounding new technology, for example robotic milking machines.

· Renewable technology and exploring how this can be incorporated into the farm business to help reduce energy use. For example, the farm has a large shed roof area which could be utilised for solar panels.

Expected benefits for the business:

By following the areas of consideration and mitigation measures, the farm can expect to see an overall better return on investment. This includes return on milk production as the improved nutrient management and feed will reduce the cost of production. Investing in renewables could also help to reduce the carbon footprint and provide a further revenue stream to help cover the cost of investment.


Simon Travis of Carbon Metrics said: “The Millicans are a great example of how carbon auditing can help to reduce the overall carbon footprint of a farm. Based on the audit completed two years ago, there have been a number of changes in practice which has seen the farm reduce carbon emissions by 0.5kg per kg of product sold which is a fantastic achievement and a great start.

“This has so far been achieved by introducing a beef bull to the dairy herd, as well as looking closely at the amount of replacement heifers actually required and selling surplus stock. This has not only led to an increase in animal sales of £15,000, but has also made an overall saving on farm of around £60,000 due to various factors including inputs.”

Simon continued: “The next level of mitigation and priority for the Millicans is slurry management and nutrient management. The creation of a new slurry store will help improve the soil health due to less compaction and better crop value within the grass, which in turn will work towards Low Moor reaching NetZero in the future.”

Farmer’s Feedback:

Nicola Millican said: “As part of our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint we started bulling with beef calves as opposed to black and whites and improved our slurry management and feeding.”

“The environment is very important to our business and we are working closely with Carbon Metrics to identify the best way to achieve this and we are now looking into how we can improve tree planting.”