Today the Farm Carbon Calculator has gone live with a major upgrade. As part of our development cycle, every few months we deliver updates to ensure our calculator keeps up with the latest science, while also improving its features and usability. As the number of users continues to rise, we regularly update the tool to ensure it’s the best it can be and matches our users’ expectations.
The recent COP26 exemplified how carbon has shot up the agenda for everyone in societies across the world, and this fact is reflected in the number of farmers and growers we are engaging with at the Farm Carbon Toolkit. We have been advocating for over ten years that farmers and growers have a key role in cutting emissions and indeed in sequestering carbon in their biomass and soils, and we provide solutions for users to measure and manage carbon in their businesses.
Farms are one of just two industrial sectors that can not just reduce emissions but also sequester carbon (the other being forestry). This means farming can play a positive role in the climate crisis by potentially drawing down atmospheric CO2 into its soils and biomass. Facing the climate crisis, we are here to support farmers and growers to make a positive contribution, as we all must do.
In this upgrade we have updated a wide range of emissions factors based on the latest research; including in Fuels, Livestock, Fertilisers, Crops, and Materials. This means up-to-date figures, more categories and therefore increased accuracy.
Major changes include a larger range of fertilisers, a huge range of branded sprays to choose from, a new way of recording livestock numbers – giving much more useful outputs, more animal feeds, new animal bedding section, a much greater range of bought in manures, and upgraded factors in fuels, electricity and travel.
There are new user features including an improved way of recording yields of crops, more FAQs to help you through the process, and videos to support you in filling in the Calculator.
On the Report Summary page, the emissions are now broken down into Scopes 1, 2 and 3, which makes Company Reporting easier and clearer. We’ve also separated results for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, so users can understand which greenhouse gases make up their total carbon footprint.
A brand new feature, and a great compliment to Carbon, is a way to measure Nitrogen. Thanks to funding from the WWF, and in conjunction with the Soil Association, our new ‘Nitrogen Module’ allows users to visualise the nitrogen flows in and out of their farm system. Nitrogen (N) inputs are built up from biological fixation, synthetic fertilisers and organic manures as well as purchased livestock and animal feeds. The N output is calculated from in-field N2O emissions as well as crops, milk and livestock sold and the N balance calculation provides an overview of the net change of Nitrogen over the year.
It takes several months of work to prepare for an upgrade. We plan, prioritise, research, extract figures, build new functionality, review, then test, test and test again!
The Calculator team is already planning the next update, which is scheduled for late February 2022. We will be working to update a raft of more emissions factors, reviewing the latest science (which is changing quite rapidly), and working on even more user features. Which all means that in another three months the Calculator will take an even bigger leap forward!
Working with consultants, larger companies and organisations
The Calculator will always be free for farmers and growers to use. But increasingly we have a new group of users who want to use the Calculator within their supply chains and as part of a consultancy service.
For consultants advising farmers, we offer a licensing service, where they can receive training and access to the Calculator to calculate the carbon footprint of their clients, and deliver advice upon the results. For businesses and organisations managing groups of farmers and growers – such as buying groups, co-ops and larger food businesses, we offer a white label version of the Calculator. This is branded and tailored to the user, along with support from us, and a group admin function to manage and compare group users’ data.
Finding out more
We hope you find the Farm Carbon Calculator useful for your business, and take steps to reduce your carbon footprint. You can use the Toolkit for further help, advice and case studies https://farmcarbontoolkit.org.uk/toolkit.
For help and advice on how to use the Calculator, visit our webpage https://calculator.farmcarbontoolkit.org.uk/
For information on commercial licenses and white label versions, please contact us [email protected]