In partnership with Boring Oat Milk (Apollo Foods), Leftfield Innovation (LFI), in conjunction with the The Agribusiness Group, undertook a study to investigate the environmental impacts of various milk products during the growing and production phases.
By analysing the relative emissions, water use, soil, biodiversity and water impacts, LFI assisted in developing a qualified and quantified comparison of different farming options to aid in the conversation about plant vs. dairy milk within a New Zealand context. The project also developed comparative financial models for different farm systems.
As expected, oat milk had a far lower greenhouse gas profile than dairy, releasing only 7% of the greenhouse gas emissions, but within the farm systems studied it generated a lower profit for farmers. Oat milk used 70% less land to produce a litre of milk, and on a per-litre basis created lower nitrogen leaching.
Through implementing one of the proposed farm system changes, a dairy farmer converting 10% of their land to oat production would reduce their emissions by 7%, but it would impact their profits by 12%.
The research was supported through funding from AGMARDT.