New research commissioned by Boring Oat Milk and The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) found that oat farming releases 7% of the greenhouse gases emitted by dairy farming per litre of milk and that oats use 70% less land than dairy to produce a litre of milk.
The study, titled Environmental Impact Assessment of Oat Milk Production at the Farm Level, undertook a literature review of the international literature to understand and gauge the level of environmental impacts of different milk products during the production phase, and then used a modelling approach using Overseer to understand the potential environmental impacts from an oat crop across four farm systems.
Boring Oat Milk owner Morgan Maw, said to Breakfast, “the study was undertaken to provide an environmental impact assessment of oat milk production at the farm level in New Zealand, as this data didn’t previously exist, and to explore how an oat crop could complement a local regenerative agricultural system… It’s common knowledge that arable farming emits less greenhouse gases than dairy, however now we have concrete evidence about its impact in Aotearoa… oats are really good for soaking up nitrate so really good when you’ve got a dairy farm that’s you know heavy in nitrates, leaching into waterways, you plant oats on there and many dairy farmers do this already and they help soak that up.”
While the study showed that oat farming is better for the environment than dairy farming, it also showed that dairy farming is still more lucrative, possibly because of the government subsidies the industry receives. But it did not take into account all the other problems of the dairy industry. In 2021, the award-winning documentary Milk exposed the dairy industry’s dark side in all its facets. Its pollution of air and water, the health problems it causes, its threat to biodiversity, its corruption, the suffering of cows forced to produce milk, and even the hardship of ordinary farmers.