Lockerbie dairy farmer David Hyslop, and sons, David and Martin, hosted a cross party group of MSPs this week to highlight the significant strides that the dairy sector is making in producing high quality, high welfare food whilst reducing its emissions.
Amongst the group of politicians were: Finlay Carson – MSP (Conservatives) Convener of Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee; Oliver Mundell – MSP (Conservatives) Dumfriesshire; Emma Harper – MSP (SNP); Colin Smyth – MSP (Scottish Labour).
The Hyslop family were joined on farm by NFU Scotland’s Regional Chair Colin Ferguson, who milks cows at Kirkinner and the region’s Milk Committee representative Rory Christie, a dairy farmer at Dourie Farming Partnership, Port William. Also attending were NFU Scotland’s Dairy Policy Manager Tracey Roan and Beatrice Morrice, Political Affairs Manager.
At Meinside Farm, David and his sons farm 780 acres, milking 460 Holstein Friesian cows, and supplying to local milk processor Arla.
The farm has a renewable energy system which consists of a 1-megawatt boiler and 2 x 45 kilowatt CHP machines producing electricity to be self-sufficient. The farm separates the solids from the slurry which is then dried using the heat from the renewables. The dried product is used to bed all the animals, improving sustainability.
The meeting was set up a following a letter from the UK Climate Change Committee sent to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee in April that claimed a 29 per cent reduction in Scottish dairy cow numbers was needed to meet emissions targets.
NFU Scotland took the opportunity to highlight that investing in Scottish dairy farming delivers on food security, nature, and value for money through the production of high-quality milk that is turned into products enjoyed by consumers not only across the UK but around the world.
NFU Scotland’s Dairy Policy Manager Tracey Roan, who also manages the Scottish Dairy Hub said: “We welcomed this opportunity to give MSPs from several parties a valuable insight into how the dairy sector is sustainable and show that it is already very much a part of the nation’s transition to net zero.
The dairy sector is playing a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – at farm level to milk processors – it’s happening right along the supply chain.
“On this family farm, the Hyslops provide a great example of how our sector is producing milk with less than half the average emissions per litre compared with global dairy production. We are very much aligned with Scottish Government climate change goals and this meeting was a wonderful opportunity to showcase this to MSPs.”