New soil sequestration module to reduce carbon footprint

A carbon footprint tool, which aims to help farmers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, has been updated to include a soil sequestration module.

Agrecalc was developed by SAC Consulting – part of SRUC, in response to the growing need for a simple-to-use, accurate and science-driven carbon audit tool.

The mission of the tool is to assess what is technically feasible to get a farm, or supply chain, to lower carbon emissions, with a goal of net zero where viable.

It is used by more than 2,500 businesses and institutions, including the Scottish Government, retailers, corporate farming businesses and financial institutions.

Agrecalc is now the first tool to use the accredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology for soil carbon sequestration.

Julian Bell, a Principal Consultant at SAC Consulting, said: “We have a model farm that allows us to examine how management practices contribute to carbon reduction, and importantly this now considers the role of soils and their management.

“Typically, most farms can attain the first 10 to 15 per cent of carbon reduction with changes in practices, such as growing more legumes, sampling manures and soils to reduce fertiliser use, or implementing paddock grazing.

“The next level of 10 to 15 per cent improvement should be feasible from more significant investments such as new machinery or systems’ changes, while achieving 30 to 40 per cent reduction is likely to require more drastic measures such as afforestation.”

Dr Alasdair Sykes, the system’s agricultural modeller, said the aim of the new Agrecalc soil carbon module is to make accounting for soil carbon sequestration easy via a simple interface, while still extracting the all-important farmer effect versus what would happen naturally.

He said: “The core elements of this are land-related variables, such as soil type, climate and land use, overlaid with management factors such as tillage or stocking density, and finally factors relating to inputs to the soil, such as fertiliser or manure.”

The tool is free for farmers to use as a single licence and takes less than two hours to input the information.

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Posted by SRUC on 22/05/2020

Tags: Climate and Environment, Soil and crops, SAC Consulting
Categories: Sustainability | Consulting and Commercial