Browsing Agricultural Economics by Author "Dillon, Emma J."
Can technology help achieve sustainable intensification? Evidence from milk recording on Irish dairy farmsBalaine, Lorraine; Dillon, Emma J.; Läpple, Doris; Lynch, John; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; University of Oxford; 14/ 889; 205212/Z/16/Z (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)This article explores the potential of a farm technology to simultaneously improve farm efficiency and provide wider environmental and social benefits. Identifying these ‘win-win-win’ strategies and encouraging their widespread adoption is critical to achieve sustainable intensification. Using a nationally representative sample of 296 Irish dairy farms from 2015, propensity score matching is applied to measure the impact of milk recording on a broad set of farm sustainability indicators. The findings reveal that the technology enhances economic sustainability by increasing dairy gross margin and milk yield per cow. Furthermore, social sustainability is improved through a reduction in milk bulk tank somatic cell count (an indicator of animal health and welfare status). Conversely, milk recording (as it is currently implemented) does not impact farm environmental sustainability, represented by greenhouse gas emission efficiency. While the study shows that milk recording is a ‘win-win’ strategy, ways of improving current levels of utilisation are discussed so that milk recording achieves its ‘win-win-win’ potential in the future.