The potential of regenerative agriculture: Arla's new research project | Image header

The potential of regenerative agriculture: Arla’s new research project

How can we manage dairy farming without using artificial fertilizers and pesticides? Are there promising alternatives and how do they affect nature and the climate? Arla Foods is investigating these questions as part of an ongoing research project.

Pilot program starts in 5 European countries

First of all, the dairy cooperative launched a pilot program. It was developed in cooperation with experts from the consulting company FAI Farms and other specialist organizations. As part of this program, the staff in 24 selected companies, including Germany, are trained to use regenerative methods.

With the help of the data collected and the experiences of its employees, Arla wants to gain knowledge about the use of regenerative methods in dairy farms. The company wants to find out how the methods used influence soil biology and water quality, for example.

Data collection as a basis for scientific knowledge

The more than 900 organic farmers who produce milk for Arla will from now on regularly collect soil samples to determine the carbon content as part of the research project. An external laboratory analyzes this. In addition, the cooperative farmers will from now on assess their biodiversity measures and register them once a year.

In addition, from 2022 onwards, Arla farmers will self-assess the health of their soils. For example, they check the smell and the number of earthworms present in the soil. The knowledge that can be derived from the data obtained is intended to help reduce the negative effects of the dairy industry and to be able to specifically promote positive factors in the future.

Future of the dairy industry: focus on regenerative agriculture

According to Arla, the topic of regenerative agriculture is attracting increasing interest from farmers, traders and consumers as well as from research. Against the background of global climate change and declining biodiversity, many see this as an opportunity to meet these challenges.

The optimization of soil health and biodiversity are central characteristics of regenerative agriculture. However, a generally applicable, binding definition of the term has so far been lacking, as is sufficient examples for research into regenerative methods in the dairy industry. With its newly launched research project, Arla Foods aims to collect missing data that farmers can use for orientation. For this purpose, the cooperative draws on the wealth of experience and knowledge of the employees in the farms belonging to it.