Monday, 7 February 2022

Calculator helping red meat farmers understand farm emissions profile


Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Calculator1 is one of the tools that has been developed to help farmers meet the sector’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions.

Launched last year, the calculator was developed as a free, user-friendly tool to help farmers measure both their emissions and sequestration. Under He Waka Eke Noa, the primary sector’s climate action partnership, every farmer is expected to know their farm’s GHG numbers by the end of 2022.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the calculator is not a regulatory tool, rather it will help farmers get an understanding of where they are in terms of emissions. When used in conjunction with B+LNZ’s Farm Plan, it can help farmers take steps to manage their emissions and improve efficiencies to drive productivity and profitability.

The information generated through the calculator is the property of the individual farmer and cannot be accessed by anyone but the user.

Sam says knowing and managing farm GHG emissions is critical for New Zealand’s future as a trusted provider of sustainable food.

"Front-footing this demonstrates to the New Zealand public and our customers that we are serious about managing our impact on the climate."

About 2,000 farmers used the GHG Calculator in the first three months post-launch, and the strong uptake has continued. Hawke's Bay farmer and Ravensdown board member Bruce Wills says he found the calculator very straightforward and surprisingly easy to use.

“It’s a great first step for farmers to get a feel for their number."

He says it helps to have stock numbers (from your financial statements, Farm Focus (formerly Cash Manager), Xero or other financial management tools or statements) on hand before starting the calculations, along with areas of exotic and indigenous forest and shrubland.

While Bruce had already carried out a stock-take of all the vegetation and wetlands on his farm and had the information available, he believes it is a good idea for farmers to do a vegetation stock-take.

Bruce says that when coupled with the Farm Plan, the GHG numbers will help farmers see where they are at in terms of emissions, where they can make improvements and what He Waka Eke Noa might mean for the farm in the future.

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