The grasslands may not be as lush as you’d like, but there’s one thing that keeps them from falling apart: the milk they produce.
In the 1970s, when most people in the world lived in urban areas, grasslands produced a third of all the milk in the country.
In the 1980s, the numbers started to drop and by the early 2000s, there were only around 6 million hectares of grasslands left in the UK.
Today, the grassland milk supply is more than five times the amount that it was in the 1970, and has fallen by more than 80 per cent since then.
But there are signs that the grasses are slowly starting to regenerate, thanks to the advent of milk.
As part of a pilot project, the milk bank in Battersea, east London, will run a trial run this month to assess how milk production in grasslands can be affected by the Brexit vote.
The Milkbank is part of the UK Dairy Farmers’ Association, which aims to make the grass roots of the dairy industry more sustainable.
It’s a project that the association has been working on for the last 15 years and hopes to start running in 2021.
This is because grasslands, as a habitat for cows, have a natural resilience to climate change.
So when it comes to the UK’s grasslands dairy supply, the future of the grass will be decided by how farmers are able to manage them.
“If you look at the number of cows in the grass, we think it’s about a million or so and we’ve had a few really big failures of milk production,” said Sarah Gomery, the association’s chief executive.
Ms Gomeries said that for dairy farms that were producing about 1.5 million litres a day, this was equivalent to producing enough milk to feed 1,200,000 people for a year.
She said that when the grass goes, the farmers are left with no alternative but to take the loss.
A farmer who has not been able to milk his cows for a long time is not just losing money.
They are also losing the land on which they depend on for milk production.
While the farmers have no immediate plan to go into the new year without milk, the organisation is working with farmers to ensure they can adapt and keep farming.
Battersea’s milk bank is one of a number of grassland farmers who are also taking part in a pilot scheme to assess the impact Brexit could have on the grass and the milk industry in England.
To do this, the Milkbank will be running a series of field visits in Batterysea to give farmers an idea of what to expect.
Sarah Gomey said: It is an important test to give us a better idea of how grasslands milk production could be affected and whether or not grasslands could be re-established, and whether the grass is sustainable.
“It is very important that farmers have a plan in place to deal with the possibility of grass being gone and we’re very fortunate to be working with the Dairy Farmers Association to see if we can develop a plan that works for both grasslands and the dairy supply.”
Sarah and co-author Sarah McNeill, who is also a member of the Milk Bank, said the pilot would give farmers the best chance of success.
Their research has been supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.