One tool, all enterprises

The farm carbon footprint calculator suitable for all farm enterprises

As a food producer, you’re facing constant challenges, from compliance and financial security, to staying competitive in the ever-changing market conditions. Transition to low-carbon agriculture is one area that has recently opened up and as such needs a new-style navigation and education, on a road that might not be clear to everyone just yet.

Agrecalc, the farm carbon footprint calculator, is here to support food producers, with the aim to account for emissions resulting from agricultural use of the land. Agrecalc takes into account emissions from: land and crop, livestock, and energy and waste.

Our practical, on-farm data audit and reporting allows for a quick glance emissions per farming activity. Agrecalc Cloud, with its new Reports dashboard, allows for easy information consumption at a glance.

This information helps inform business decisions, and allows farmers and food producers to:

  • Align with government policy, secure grants and subsidies and other payments
  • Achieve business resilience and improve resource utilisation
  • Build strong supply chain relationships and improve product provenance
  • Move closer to what the end consumer demands.

Using the farm carbon footprint calculator with your beef enterprise

Agrecalc has been used since 2016 to deliver carbon audits under various government schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In addition to continuous support of these schemes, our farm carbon footprint calculator is recognised as the preferred carbon calculator in emerging government programmes such as Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) in Scotland.  

You can use the features of the software to help with:

  • Herd management and livestock optimisation: track emissions from various groups within your enterprise. 
  • Grazing management and silage planning: how the nutritional requirements of your herd affect the output.
  • Resource use optimisation: continuously evaluate performance. 
  • Financial analysis and cost optimisation: gain awareness of input and its influence on bottom line.
  • Scenario testing and risk management: model different situations without running costly experiments. 

Read our case study from the Highlands, where a beef farmers has used Agrecalc to set him up on a path of reaching carbon neutral beef.

Agrecalc broadly aligns to IPCC (2019) and PAS 2050:11 supply chain standards throughout, with imminent plans for the farm carbon footprint calculator to have appropriate ISO certifications.

You can use the features of the farm carbon footprint calculator to help with:

  • Flock management and livestock optimisation: track essential flock data, such as breed types, age profiles, and reproduction rates. 
  • Grazing management and forage planning:  balance between the flock’s nutritional requirements and sustainable land management.
  • Environmental impact assessment: identify areas for improvement and implement mitigation measures. 
  • Financial analysis and cost optimisation: explore cost-saving opportunities, and maximise return on investment.
  • Scenario testing and risk management: model different situations without running costly experiments in the flock itself. 

In Somerset, a family farm with beef and sheep has used Agrecalc to enable scoop for improvement across the whole business.

Using the farm carbon footprint calculator with your dairy enterprise

Agrecalc has the ability to capture all farm enterprises, with the results expressed as whole farm, or allocated by enterprise and product. The farm carbon footprint calculator also has operational modules on carbon sequestration from woodlands, hedges and soils. 

Our consulting experts validate all the data entered, to ensure data quality. The consultants have access to a large database of validated carbon datasets (20,000+ farm reports). 

We’ve delivered considerable carbon footprint savings for a large dairy enterprise – Grosvenor Farms Limited, and we continue to support them on their journey toward net zero.

Although production of pork is responsible for only approximately half the GHG emissions per kilo of meat compared to beef or lamb, there are still emissions from two main sources: around 20% of the total GHG contribution is from Nitrous Oxide and a further 69% from Methane released from manure.

The main amount of emissions in pig enterprises come from the following:

  • Feeding: the majority of the emissions in this enterprise come from the growing of pig feed, especially if we factor in soya grown overseas, which can have much higher emissions associated with its production. Agrecalc is looking into introducing separate coefficients for home-grown versus emissions-intensive soya products.
  • Manures, including storage, muck spreading and anaerobic digestion: mitigation strategies associated with proper management of manure can go a long way in reducing emissions associated with this issue.
  • Energy: the more intensive the production system, the higher the direct energy requirements, in the shape of heating and ventilation systems. The potential for employing mitigation measures in this area is high, and can result in significant cost savings.

Find out how scenario testing with Agrecalc can help calculate carbon footprint in different farrowing systems.

Using Agrecalc in poultry and egg production

Energy use and CO2 emissions in egg and poultry production are easy to quantify, under your direct management and unlike other sectors, represent a substantial part of the GHG emissions from the farm.

Giving attention to this aspect, along with overall flock health and output will directly benefit both the farm business and the environment.

Among its clients Agrecalc counts a top 15 UK food company Moy Park, who use the farm carbon footprint calculator to monitor and track greenhouse gas emissions in real time at individual farm level, across its entire farming base.

Oilseeds and Cereals

The most significant source of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from arable cropping in the UK is associated with the use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers, contributing to the large proportion of nitrous oxide released from agricultural systems.

Another significant source would arise from cultivation activities, with the frequency, intensity, and depth influencing how these factors directly effect GHG emissions as a consequence of fuel usage and soil organic matter degradation.

Agrecalc, with its N2O model adapted to the UK conditions, aims to support farmers to understand and reduce their fertiliser use to enable lower carbon livestock and cereal production.

potato carbon footprint - potatoes in hand, covered with earth

Using Agrecalc with your potato enterprise

The humble potatoes are thought to be ‘carbon champions’, as they have a comparatively low carbon footprint associated with their production. Still, according to recent research from Cambridge University, fertilisers are the main source of emissions from growing potatoes, and there are also other indirect emissions. The key sources of direct and indirect emissions from horticulture are:

  • nitrogenous fertilisers and animal manures
  • fuel and electricity 
  • seed production
  • waste and refrigerant loss to the atmosphere

Agrecalc, the farm carbon footprint calculator, can help you assess the resource efficiency of your potato enterprise through the Life-Cycle Assessment methodology.

Vegetables & fruit, and Production horticulture

According to international methodologies, fertilisers are the highest source of emissions from horticulture, however horticultural activities also cause other indirect emissions. The key sources of direct and indirect emissions from horticulture are:

  • fuel and electricity 
  • nitrogenous fertilisers and animal manures
  • waste and refrigerant loss to the atmosphere

In our case study, delivered with our colleagues from the Food and Footprint team at SAC Consulting, Agrecalc farm carbon footprint calculator has helped a major UK fruit producer and packager establish a baseline and a plan for GHG emissions reduction.

Need expert guidance in decision making?

Contact us today to learn more how we can support your work.