It's a fact that dairy farms today produce a gallon of milk using 95 percent less land and 65 percent less water while producing 76 percent less manure compared with 1944. It's the modern science and technology that make it possible to produce more milk today with only 9 million cows than with 26 million cows in 1944.
In looking to reduce our carbon footprint and operate as sustainably as possible, we completed an energy audit in 2012 with the help of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its partners EnSave and USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Services. The audit provided potential areas for saving energy use and improving long-term efficiency and profitability.
Last year after completion of the energy audit, we chose to install equipment in the milking parlor that would reduce the amount of electricity used to cool the milk. By installing this equipment we saw immediate results in efficiency and a reduction in the farm's carbon footprint. The change saved more than 26,000 kilowatts in electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 6 tons annually.
In addition to saving electricity, the plate cooler provided additional water that can be recycled for our cows to drink. We installed two rubber tire water tanks for the cows to enjoy drinking from year-round. A win-win for us, the environment and the cows!
We'll be using our energy audit to provide direction for other changes we can make to operate as sustainably as possible and continue to celebrate Earth Day Everyday down on the dairy farm.
How will you celebrate Earth Day?