McDonald's unveils free tool to help farmers

McDonald’s UK today unveiled a digital business tool for the beef sector that enables farmers to calculate potential financial savings.


During a series of farm assessments, a beef farmer based in Dorset, farming 227 hectares, used McDonald’s ‘What If?’ business tool to identify potential cost savings of £9,917 as well as a reduction in carbon emissions.Andy Foot, NFU livestock board_600_449


McDonald’s and independent environmental consultants, The E-CO2 Project, have developed the ‘What If?’ business tool over the last four years. An early version of the tool based on Carbon Trust-verified data and 800 carbon assessments of beef farms was launched last year to help farmers measure their carbon emissions per kilo of beef. In response to feedback from farmers, McDonald’s and E-CO2 have developed the tool to identify cost as well as carbon savings; creating a tool that can play a useful role in business planning.


Users of the tool are asked to input data including daily live-weight gain, feed use per animal, fertiliser use, forage quality and sale weights. They can then adjust these variables and run different ‘What If?’ scenarios to understand which changes will have the most impact on their business and in turn drive cost and carbon savings.


The launch of the new and improved tool follows the publication of the government’s agri-tech strategy last summer, which identified a need to provide farmers with greater access to innovative new practices and technologies that can improve productivity, competitiveness and environmental performance[1].


McDonald’s is making the ‘What If?’ tool available to the beef industry free of charge as part of Farm Forward, its long-term programme to create a sustainable future for British and Irish farming.


To download the tool, click here.


Using the ‘What if?’ tool, Andrew Foot, NFU livestock board vice chairman, identified £9,917 of potential savings by focusing on improving silage quality and gaining better feed conversion efficiencies. He said: “Monitoring business performance on the farm is incredibly important and I’m always looking to learn from other sectors and use technology to increase my farm’s efficiency. The ‘What If?’ Tool demonstrates that by making small changes to animal groups this can really make a big difference to overall performance.”


Charles Sercombe, Chairman of the NFU National Livestock Board, added: "I found the tool easy-to-use and it demonstrates that some simple changes to farming practices can not only drive efficiencies, but also increase profitability. I’m pleased that McDonald's has chosen to encourage all beef farmers to use the tool to see how they might benefit. This is a great example of how we can all work together to support a sustainable future for beef farming."


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