Denmark: Arla establishes pilot programme with farming experts

The Denmark headquartered dairy cooperative Arla will explore regenerative dairy farming practices on 24 pilot farms and create data-driven proof points of their impact on nature and climate. At the same time more than 900 organic Arla farmers will measure their soil carbon content and register practices that promote biodiversity. The first step is to establish a pilot programme created in partnership with regenerative farming experts. Across the five countries United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, 24 selected pilot farmers will be trained and coached to implement various regenerative methods, and their learnings combined with data collection will build knowledge of how regenerative methods can be applied to different dairy farming systems in Europe and how they impact climate and nature. They are a mix of conventional farmers with both grazed and fully housed systems and organic farmers. They have agreed to be pilot farmers for a period of four years. The farmers will help gather data and assess various methods to understand what effect they can have on soil health, carbon capture, biodiversity, ecosystem processes, farm profitability, and farmer well-being. The second step is a commitment from the cooperative’s 916 organic farmers. Starting this year, they will self-assess and register their farm’s biodiversity activities once every year to generate data. In addition to this, they will collect soil samples, which will be analysed by a third party laboratory to establish a baseline for their soil carbon. Furthermore, the organic farmers will guarantee that a number of soil health and biodiversity measures are activated on their farms. They will get access to a lever catalogue including information about how to measure and manage improvements. From 2022, they will also self-assess soil health indicators e.g. testing soil smell, spading ease, and earthworm counts.

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