According to Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist, the carbon footprint of dairy has dropped from 31 pounds in 1944 to 12 pounds per gallon in 2007, CattleNetwork reports.
Hutjens also talked about a paper published earlier this year by the National Academy of Science that showed improvement of milk production efficiency could lead to positive impacts to the environment. Whereas organic dairy production would have negative impacts compared to conventional production.
Hutjens told CattleNetwork that if 1 million of the total 9 million U.S. dairy cows produced 10 pounds more milk per day due to the adoption of technology, it would reduce the number of cows needed to produce the same level of milk by 157,000. This would lead to a reduction of methane emissions by 41 million kilograms annually and reduce the land needed for fed production by 219,000 hectares.
Organic milk production, on the other hand, would require 25 percent more cows than currently used and lead to a 13 percent increase in global warming potential.
In September, Dairy UK reported that some UK farmers have put their cows on a special diet in order to reduce GHG emissions.