Using Agrecalc with your sheep enterprise

Calculating emissions and sequestration from your sheep enterprise

Agrecalc, an advanced agricultural calculator, proves to be an invaluable tool for sheep farmers seeking to optimise their sheep enterprise, and lower sheep carbon footprint. Tailored to the specific needs of the sheep industry, this versatile software assists farmers in making informed decisions, enhancing productivity, and improving overall sustainability.

There are many advantages for choosing Agrecalc as your calculator for sheep carbon footprint. Some of those are:

  • Flock management and livestock optimisation: The software offers a user-friendly interface that allows farmers to input and track essential flock data, such as breed types, age profiles, and reproduction rates. 
  • Grazing management and forage planning: Our data-driven approach helps maintain the balance between the flock’s nutritional requirements and sustainable land management.
  • Environmental impact assessment: By analysing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and resource utilisation, the software enables farmers to identify areas for improvement and implement mitigation measures. 
  • Financial analysis and cost optimisation: GHG emissions directly correlate with resource use efficiency. By pinpointing the hotspots in your enterprise, you can draw conclusions regarding budgeting and forecasting profitability. This enables you to explore cost-saving opportunities, and maximise return on investment.
  • Scenario testing and risk management: one of Agrecalc’s greatest strengths is scenario testing, allowing farmers to model different situations without running costly experiments in the flock itself. 
female sheep ewe and lamb in a green field

How to start calculating the GHG emissions from your sheep flock

To accurately estimate your sheep carbon footprint, and sequestration from your sheep enterprise, you will need to add data to the following three sections of the Calculator:

  1. Land and crops
  2. Livestock
  3. Energy and waste

To ensure data collected is accurate, use available farm records. Farmer estimates or industry default values can help fill any gaps.

Save the data by selecting ‘Save’ at the bottom of each page.

The Energy and Waste category requires data across the whole farm, and is not enterprise specific.

Data entry for sheep carbon footprint

At the start of your report, you have the options to select all the enterprises you’ve got on your farm, and group them accordingly: ewes, tups, lambs, etc. To be able to compare the results, we advise you group your sheep, and then start populating the data.

For each group, enter the average number of livestock managed by the farm over the 12-month period, as well as the average opening and closing live weights for each group over the reporting period. For lambs only, Agrecalc also requires average live weight at weaning. 

Enter the lambing percentage and percentage of lambs that were singles, twins, and triplets. Lambing percentage equals the number of lambs born dead or alive as a percentage of the number of sheep and gimmers that went to the tup.

For each group, enter the number of livestock purchased and sold, average purchase and sale weights, and deaths over the 12-month period. If the KO percentage for meat is known, enter this information as well. 

Agrecalc also requires quantities of other sales for sheep, like kilograms of wool.

Ideally, to get the most accurate sheep carbon footprint, find input data for this section in farm records, such as computer software packages, invoices, herd or flock registers, scanning results, or other documented sources.

clover pasture grass

Crop use dedicated to sheep enterprise

On sheep farms, grassland and utilised crops need to be allocated to the relevant livestock enterprises (sheep). 
For rough grazing and pasture grazing, identify how long each group – that you have created at the start of your calculation – spends on the land. Enter this information as a percentage of the year, or work out the number of sheep grazing the land and convert this to a percentage.
All homegrown feed and bedding used on-farm must be allocated across livestock enterprises. The total should be 100% for each crop enterprise.

When it comes to the grazing regime, for grassland enterprises, select your grazing type from the dropdown list based on the average number of days sheep graze before moving pasture. For example, if a flock is moved every week (on average over the year, if / when the sheep are not indoors), the grazing period between rest intervals would be 7 days.

“Forage first sheep systems” from SAC Consulting provides additional reading on feed optimisation.

Purchased feed, bedding and feed rations

For each of the sheep groups, enter the total quantity of each type of purchased feed and bedding used, in tonnes. For each feed / bedding imported to the farm, choose the category, and then select the feed type from the corresponding drop-down list.

Our list of feed ingredients and concentrates was developed with livestock nutrition specialists at SAC consulting.

Invoices can help check purchased quantities, but consider opening and closing stocks when calculating feed / bedding use for the reporting period.

If known, enter digestibility and crude protein percentage of the diet for each livestock age class.

cute sheep in paddock
Agrecalc sheep comparisons

Sheep carbon footprint Reports

When you reach the Reports page, you’ll have the ability to compare various groups within enterprises.

You’ll select your Report, then your enterprise and the group within it, and in the last drop-down column, you have different comparison parameters – like ‘farms with same enterprise’ or ‘farms in the top 25% of efficiency’. By selecting each in turn, the graph chart in the middle will change, informing you where you stand.

After getting your precise sheep carbon footprint, you can make informed decisions about which mitigation steps to take to set your sheep enterprise on a path of enhanced productivity.

Need expert guidance in decision making?

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