How do three main farm carbon calculators compare?

Mike Abram from Farmers Weekly presents an insightful review of three popular whole-farm calculators. A few farmers tested the overall scope and structure of the calculators, all of which cover arable and livestock enterprises and are “self-service” options that can be used without input from a farm adviser. The tools assessed where:

  • Farm Carbon Toolkit
  • Agrecalc
  • Cool Farm Tool

The review gives a good feeling of the data needed for calculating a footprint as well as the complexity, benefits and downsides of each calculator.

The Cool Farm Tool could convince with its relatively simple setup that makes assessments timely efficient and allows for an easy comparison of individual products on a global scale. At the same time, it requires additional steps offline to prepare a whole-farm assessment and narrows down the data precision regarding productivity and carbon sequestration in the livestock module. As Richard Finlay comments on the CFT: “If in the future it becomes compulsory to fill in a carbon footprint to access a particular scheme, such as say ELM, then this perhaps would be the one.”

The Cool Farm Alliance and its members are continuously driving the development of the Cool Farm Tool. While working on a common approach that encourages, rewards and motivates regenerative practices, the CFA is aware of improvement opportunities and tries to close the gap between the need of its users and the latest science. Emission factors are currently under review and will be introduced in a new, additional version of the CFT to allow for a more accurate machinery accountability and to reflect the newest IPCC 2019 updates. Also carbon sequestration is a core topic that is discussed by the CFA soil working group that looks at improving the methodology for crop and livestock systems, supported by several ongoing PHD studies to provide the scientific evidence for it. For now, a great feature to add sequestration to livestock is the option to include the footprint of own produced crops as feed items into a livestock assessment.

Read the full comparison here: