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Carbon Auditing - what is your farm's carbon footprint?

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The first step to reducing your farm's carbon footprint is to understand what it is and where it comes from.

There are various tools you can use to assess the carbon footprint of your farm business. The popular (and free) options below have been designed to be straight-forward to complete and will give a good indication of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and, in some cases, carbon sequestration on your farm. Some also suggest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the farm.

If you work with an environment advisor as part of your farm management or business planning they may be able to help with completing and interpreting a farm carbon audit, but each of the tools mentioned here can also be completed by anyone who has access to farm records.

Collecting the data you will need for a carbon audit is usually the most time-consuming part of the process. Each tool detailed below provides a data-input guide for users to collate information from their farm records.

Here's a quick summary of the information you will need before you start a farm carbon audit:

Cropping

Livestock

Other (often optional)

Harvested yield and marketable yield product weights

Herd or flock size

Land use change
E.g. forestry, arable <-> grassland

Growing area; crop area and soil testing data

Feed and grazing

Tillage practices

Fertiliser applications: type and rate

Manure management

Cover cropping

Number of pesticide applications

Energy use (kWh and fuel use)

Waste management

Energy use (kWh and fuel use)

Transport of feed and other inputs

Building, machinery and materials
E.g. maintenance, ground works

Optionally: transport: mode, weight of product and distance

Dairy output
E.g. milk production, fat content, protein content

Distribution
E.g.Transport, refrigeration, packing material

Sequestration
E.g. Woodland, hedgerow, field margins

Depending on the type of farming you do and the information you want from a carbon audit, one tool may be more suitable than another for your farm.
CFE carbon auditing tool comparison table_72171
A more detailed comparison of these tools can be found in the Tool Comparison Table

For detailed analysis of the full range of tools available, Climate Xchange have produced a comprehensive report on their applicability in Scotland which is also very helpful for readers elsewhere in the UK.

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