Agrecalc’s partner, The Andersons Centre, is set to support ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s leading food processors, in delivering a unique sustainability programme which will endorse the processor’s beef and lamb suppliers. The carbon calculating software will provide scientific computations needed for carbon footprint assessment.
The collaboration with Andersons is led by partner and Senior Research Consultant Michael Haverty, who, with his team, will focus on carbon assessments as well as other sustainability benchmarking.
Mr Haverty said: “Agrecalc was chosen for the PRISM 2030 programme because, based on a number of analyses of the 65 or so carbon calculators in the UK conducted by various organisations, Agrecalc consistently emerges as a leader, particularly in the grazing livestock sector.”
“With more than 8,000 active users and more than 17,000 carbon assessments completed across the UK in recent years, it has a robust dataset against which each farm can be benchmarked.”
ABP Food Group has announced an investment of £1.5 million in PRISM 2030, the new programme which will support 350 of its farmer suppliers and share wider learnings across the UK beef and sheep sectors.
The programme will provide farmers with a support framework initially over 2-3 years, with the aim of helping participants to improve their carbon footprint and sustainability across the entirety of the farm. The detailed programme will include carbon footprint assessment, soil health, water use and support biodiversity creation and resource efficiency.
Support from Harper Adams University and The Andersons Centre will ensure that farmers have direct and ongoing access to, and feedback from, the very latest environmental innovations and methodologies. A sustainability grant will also be available, alongside peer-to-peer learning and expert advice throughout.
Dean Holroyd, Group Technical and Sustainability Director for ABP, said: “British red meat production is amongst the most sustainable in the world, but we can and must do more because as an industry, we are well placed to be part of the climate solution.
“So we want to build on this position of strength, and while PRISM will mean direct support for those in our supply base who qualify for the programme, all of the outcomes will be made available to the wider industry.
“In this way, it’s our hope that this initiative will play a part in helping beef and sheep farmers across the country become the global leaders in sustainable meat production – with lower emissions, lower costs and improved productivity.”
Sharing support on behalf of the NFU livestock board, Chair Richard Findlay said: ‘PRISM 2030 aims to support beef and sheep farmers in establishing farm-based carbon and wider sustainability data, initially as a baseline, before delivering wider support, including advice and equipment grants to help farmers improve thereafter.
“The NFU has set the ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040, so I welcome this financial investment from ABP. Livestock producers will need initiatives and support like this to help us get there.”
Chair of Ruminant Health & Welfare and former president of NFUS, Nigel Miller, said: “Having a net zero goal means we must all contribute carbon savings and be prepared to change, and this ABP initiative, working with farming partners, has the potential to identify the value of effective health management and be a signpost for the whole industry.
“Management of livestock health is a key component of all viable low carbon production systems,” said Miller, who is also a beef and sheep farmer based in Galashiels. “Focusing herd or flock health programmes on diseases that impact growth rates and / or food conversion efficiency can directly reduce methane emissions and can eliminate a significant carbon cost from breeding systems.”
The UK Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has awarded £3.3 million in funding to a major on-farm trial and research project that seeks to eliminate the dependence of UK grassland farming on applied nitrogen fertilisers, with carbon footprints on the technology to be evaluated by Agrecalc.