Home - Article - Environmental comparison of conventional and organic milk
Environmental comparison of conventional and organic milk

Environmental comparison of conventional and organic milk

how sustainable is…

This study compares the environmental impact of organic and conventional milk production. The study looks at a number of environmental issues, such as:

According to the study, the key difference in the environmental impact of organic and conventional milk production are land use, eutrophication and energy use.

It finds that organic milk production requires a larger land area than conventional milk production, due to lower numbers of cows per hectare and lower milk yields per hectare (a result of not using artificial fertilizer and pesticides).

However, the study finds that conventional milk has a greater impact on the environment than organic milk with regards to:

  • energy use (energy required for the production and transport of purchased concentrates) and
  • eutrophication (e.g. from leaching of nitrate and phosphate, and from volatilized ammonia during application of fertilizer during production of on-farm feed).
The study did not find significant differences between total acidification potential potential and global warming potential between conventional and organic farms.

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?

If you want to limit the impact on the environment from milk consumption, you should buy organic milk. If the higher cost of organic milk is an issue, perhaps you can consider consuming less milk altogether? Drinking less milk will reduce your impact on the environment much more than choosing between one or the other.

Report Rating:  3 out of 3

Report Published:  2007

Country:  The Netherlands

Author(s): M.A. Thomassen, K.J. van Calker, M.C.J. Smits, G.L. Iepema, I.J.M. de Boer

Publisher: Dairying for Tomorrow

Funder: unknown

Keywords:  environmental impact, organic milk, farm, drink

Share this page using:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin

Leave a Reply