NFU livestock board chair Richard Findlay has spent time testing carbon calculators, so for Countryside COP, the NFU livestock team ran an event looking at the practical ways a livestock farmer can reduce their carbon footprint.
Following an initial Agrecalc assessment of the carbon footprint of Richard’s North York Moors sheep and cattle operation between 2019 and 2021, Poppy Frater from SAC Consulting presented three potential on-farm interventions to target excess emissions.
The first intervention involved the substitution of traditional grain concentrate for a locally sourced by-product feed: in this case brewers' grains.
The environmental footprint of by-products is carried predominantly by their primary users, in this case the brewing sector, and this simple change could reduce Richard’s feed carbon footprint by 75% and his overall C02kg equivalent by 10%.
The second intervention suggested the cultivation of 15 further acres of herbal leys, minimising fertiliser application and further reducing the requirement for emissions-heavy supplementary feed.
The third validated an expansion of top line emissions, highlighting the KgCO2e/Kg dwt minimisation potential of better ewe lamb management and lambing ewe lambs.
A good business case
The importance of emissions control to business resilience was then endorsed by NFU BPS senior advisor Richard Wordsworth, who outlined the key policy and investment pillars supporting the transition towards net zero.
Discussion centred around Environmental Land Management incentives, continued Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Creating and FIPL grants, and impending sustainable productivity schemes.
Watch the session again
A recording of the event is available to watch below.