The study cited involves reviewing determination of the impact of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Management Systems on dairy production, dairy processing, and end-product quality. This is a Milk SA funded project, the progress being reported here.

A total of 53 onsite assessments of dairy production facilities in South Africa have been conducted, evaluating adherence to the DSA GAP Assessment Audits criteria. Sustainability evaluations employing the RISE framework (a model designed for Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation at the farm level) based on information gathered by the DSA GAP assessment Audits are in progress. This was done by applying the information obtained from GAP audits to the RISE system.

The completed RISE evaluations thus far, indicated shortcomings in the DSA audit assessments to effectively measure all the sustainability themes identified. However, valuable insights in the context of information to be gathered during farm audits were obtained and several enhancements were identified to effectively measure compliance with good sustainability practices at the farm level and to determine risks. Quantitative questions are proposed to be added to the DSA audit criteria to effectively measure sustainability effectiveness for six monitored themes. Out of the ten themes, four were successfully measured, and scores between the DSA audit criteria and the RISE indicator system correlated.

Compliance of raw milk to regulatory requirements, as well as the measurement of compliance trends over a period of 3-5 years, was identified as an important criterion. Shortcomings were identified in the GAP audit, particularly in effectively measuring compliance with good sustainability practices and determining risks at the farm level. A correlation between three out of the ten sustainability themes measured by the DSA Sustainability Audit Criteria and the RISE Report was observed. Six theme scores could not be created by the RISE system due to a lack of quantitative information. These shortcomings are being addressed through amendments and additions to Revision 1 of the DSA Sustainability audit criteria. The revised criteria will be presented to the DSA audit panel.

Overall, the analyses based on the RISE model appears promising.