General

Category: General

Register an account in the Cool Farm Tool. which allows you to make up to 5 free assessments that you can change and adjust. You need to active your account via the link you will receive in a separate email (please check your junk folder). Once logged in, fill out your farm settings. You can register for the free CFT E-Learning Course that helps you to set up the account and navigate through the system. Also, use the info buttons in the tool to guide you through the assessments.

Members of the Cool Farm Alliance have different access benefits that can be added to an account by entering the organisations’ group code. This can be entered in the “my projects” tab. Please ask the contact in your organisation responsible for Cool Farm Alliance matters to share the group code with you.

 

Category: General

The group code is entered under the tab “my projects” and activates certain member-only features such as data export unlimited assessments. If you think you should have access to member-only features, contact your buyer or check with the Cool Farm Alliance team to make sure your customer is a member. As member, you can share the code with your project group within or outside your company. The functionalities associated to a group code can be:

a. Sets the limit number of assessments above the free five assessments.

b. Export: provides the ability to export results of your made assessments as Excel file.

c. Supplier Section: Functionality to share specific information and documents with your suppliers on a ‘landing page’.  Only those with the relevant group code can see the information, by clicking on the code under ‘my projects’.

d. Custom fertiliser production (for advanced users only): the ability to add a fertiliser with its own embedded production emissions value, rather than using one of the standard values in the CFT.

Category: General

Drop-down lists in the tool simplify data entry. Here is a list of questions for crop products that may require preparation in advance: Harvested yield and marketable yield product weights, Growing area, Fertiliser applications: type and rate, Number of pesticide applications, Energy use (kWh and fuel use) and (optionally) transport: mode, weight of product and distance. For livestock, calculations are built from herd size, manure management, feed and energy use.

Category: General

The greenhouse gas metric works on a per-product basis, whereas in contrast the biodiversity metric is for whole-farm. A whole-farm assessment is a GHG emission inventory considering all aspects that may influence the overall footprint of a farm/business including arable land etc., while the current CFT does a product carbon footprint. E.g. forest areas belonging to the farm may have an impact on the company’s carbon footprint, but will not impact the product carbon footprint itself (also GHG Protocol standards differentiate between company and product footprints).

We recognise the potential benefits that exist from taking a whole farm perspective, but these are not readily modelled to allow simple user data entry. However, the Tool does already account for cover crops used in rotation, as well as factors such as land use change and trees on the land.

Category: General

Data aggregation is a member-only feature and is handled through “share codes”. Cool Farm Alliance members can have one or more share codes. Customers give these codes to their farmer-suppliers, who upon completing their crop footprint can send their data with this share code by clicking on “share” on the top right of an assessment. This process enables the owner of the share code (normally the supply chain customer) to see all of the datasets sent using the share code, at which point they can be analysed in detail and exported in a report.

Category: General

The Cool Farm Tool is free for farmers. Organisations that use the Tool to support sustainable agriculture become Cool Farm Alliance members and pay to help build literacy and understanding about the relationship between agriculture and climate change mitigation throughout the industry. The memberships fees enable us to operate and further develop the Tool – find out more at Join the Alliance.

Category: General

The Cool Farm Tool covers virtually all crops and livestock globally. One exception is for crops grown in non-soil media (e.g. greenhouses or hydroponically), but proxies can be used. The Tool is undergoing an update for livestock including new emission factors for feed, and improvements to the user interface. A project is also underway to improve ease of use and applicability of the Cool Farm Tool for many perennial and multi-year crops (coffee, tea, orchard crops, berries).

Category: General

No, unfortunately we cannot include all local units, but most of the standard unit conversions are included

Category: General

The tool creates a default name by crop and by year, but allows you to overwrite it. The naming convention depends on what you’re measuring, and how you keep your records. Many growers choose to enter by crop, field and year. When sharing your assessment with others, add or exclude sensitive data such as farm name so the assessment can be linked to your or stays anonymous.

Category: General

Go to the answer on the methodology for “soil carbon change”.

Category: General

You can duplicate an assessment via the “save as” button in the pathway, change certain values and use the compare function in the results tab to create “what-if” scenarios that shows how your GHG footprint can be improved by implementing more sustainable practices, e.g. applying different quantities of nutrients; how sequestration can be improved with soil (non) tilling and cover cropping practices; how improved herd and feed management lowers your footprint per kg of product.

Category: General

Your completed footprint is private and not visible to any other tool user, unless you wish to share it with a third party which requires active steps using a ‘share code’. To enable sharing, a customer would provide you with a share code. Make sure to check with your customer if the privacy of your name is also preserved when the data is exported (farm name can be activated or disactived upon request by the administrator).

Category: General

User data is held privately within each user account, and is not accessible to other users. Users are the owner of their data, but have an option to share assessments in the system using a members-only “share code”. The Cool Farm Alliance doesn’t own assessment data nor any personal data. These are only used to provide our service and for support activities.

The Cool Farm Tool Privacy Policy permits the Cool Farm Alliance to use information and statistics on usage of the tool anonymously to further our mission to enable millions of growers globally to make more informed on-farm decisions to improve their environmental impacts. At this stage, the Cool Farm Alliance has not used any data stored in the tool, but is in the process to develop a data ethics framework with specialists which enables data driven insights to better inform CFT users while protecting and respecting their rights. Examples for future data insights could be: understanding of distribution of crop production; benchmarking GHG performance or fertiliser applications. These anonymous data insights would be owned by the Cool Farm Alliance, which is also the case for some meta data within the tool such as user statistics.

 

Category: General

The Cool Farm Tool currently stores user data to manage user accounts, as well as farm assessment data entered into the tool in order to calculate assessments. We currently do not store assessment results, these are dynamically calculated and presented when a user accesses an assessment. This also applies for the API when only used for calculating results. However, in case the API is used to push data into the tool, the data will be stored as assessments.

The data within the Cool Farm Tool is currently stored on OVH data servers in London (UK), and is managed in compliance with the following standards:

  1. ISO 27001: 2005 for supplying and operating dedicated cloud infrastructure.
  2. ISO 27002 and ISO 27005 for security management and risk assessment norms and associated processes.

Please find further information at https://www.ovh.com/world/us/about-us/datacenters.xml

In the future, we hope to store results to improve user experience within the CFT, including benchmarks and improved scaling for the tool.

Category: General

The Cool Farm Tool is intended to help farmers choose management options that improve their environmental performance and to track and measure improvement over time. Tool results can be reported to CDP to provide carbon disclosure for agricultural supply chain emissions, the Sustainability Consortium. Participation’s climate key performance indicator (KPI) and in Corporate Social Responsibility reporting generally. For consumer facing labels or claims, Tool results require third party verification.

Category: General

Generally speaking, the CFA seeks to be aligned with various standards and protocols in terms of scope and boundaries, but does not seek to be necessarily ‘compliant’ to those standards. This is because the CFT is agnostic of standards per se, as they are in some areas conflicting.

The CFT can support your assessment following the Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol for products) as well as other GHG protocol standards. It can be part of an LCA study as being used to determine the global warming impact category and in either consequential or attributional LCA studies.It is however not an LCA tool and does not replace a full assessment, which also includes a scope definition, uncertainty assessment, and reporting. A few members use the Cool Farm Tool for reporting to the Science Based Targets initiative for their agricultural raw materials.

We are currently exploring to compare the CFT with leading standards to provide a more detailed answer.

Category: General

Go to the “Method papers” at the end of the GHG page on our website.

Category: General

For crops, the Cool Farm Tool incorporates Tier 1, Tier 2 and when it comes to N2O emissions and soil carbon sequestration,  a “simple Tier 3” model – as described by Prof. Pete Smith – as it is a multi-factoral empirical model based on Bouwman, which is widely acknowledged in the public domain. The Cool Farm Tool is moving towards Tier 3 whenever possible. Also for livestock it considers Tier 1 and 2 as in dairy and beef. For example manure on pasture is modelled using Tier 1 (1% of N applied becomes N2O), while gross energy demand is Tier 2. There is only some unclarity for other livestock like camels & goats, and we have prepared methodology to update models for pigs & poultry which are not deployed, but would bring that along.

Currently, we are still using the Global Warming Potentials for methane and nitrous oxide from the IPCC Assessment Report 4. However, this is mostly related to the development of versioning of the Cool Farm Tool, which will enable us to operate with different Global Warming Potentials based on the selected version. We are planning to include the new Global Warming Potential values soon.

Category: General

The Cool Farm Alliance is always open to discuss improvements in the current methodology. The CFT is fully based on peer-reviewed empirical research from a broad range of published data sets and IPCC methods. Therefore, it is a prerequisite that everything that is feeding into the Cool Farm Tool needs to provide enough sound evidence that the method is an improvement to the current approach. This is best done by scientific review studies, which indicate that a methodology has proven accurate for a wide range of settings. For more details on our methods guidelines please contact the Cool Farm Alliance.

Category: General

Yes, the Cool Farm Alliance is a community of members working together to develop and use a common Tool, and to share knowledge on its use in supply chains. The Alliance meets regularly, and has internal technical working groups and committees to tackle shared challenges and jointly drive the development of the tool. Please join the discussion and support the mission.

Category: General

In the app.coolfarmtool.org at the end of the help ? page you can find the API documentation as well as the demo tool to test the endpoints of the connection.

The issuing of the API app key is a benefit of the membership with the CFA. For this, we need a user account that will be linked to the API key. This account has the second key (User API key), visible at the end of the help page, which provides together with app key and the API documentation all you need to set up a connection with the CFT.

Category: General

The Cool Farm Tool is a GHG calculator at farm level – this means related emissions coming from agricultural production of a specific product (crop or livestock).

The GHG Protocol defines three different scopes:

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions at your farm (e.g. combustion of diesel, N2O emissions from your field, CH4 emissions from your cattle)
  • Scope 2: Indirect emissions from purchased energy/electricity (Emissions are produced someplace else, but the energy is used at the farm)
  • Scope 3: Other indirect emissions (Emissions from another company that provide products or services for your operations.)

The Cool Farm Tool is taking the scope 3 approach for many aspects, such as fertilisers, pesticides, and transportation of goods to and from the farm. However, there are also areas, which are only partly covered such as seed production (only for potatoes) or not covered at all such as the production of machinery or build infrastructure. The latter are not covered to ease the use of the CFT and also because the emissions may have only a minor impact on the overall result.

Category: General

The electricity emissions are based on DEFRA. We are hoping to switch to IEA or Ecoinvent in the new version of the tool in 2022.

Category: General

If you have previously registered an account in the Cool Farm Tool but forgotten your password, you can simply go to https://app.coolfarmtool.org/, and click on “forgot password”. Follow the instructions you receive via mail (check your Junk & Spam folders).

Please note that an email address can only be used once for registration. Every additional account in the CFT needs a new email address.

Category: General

The selected location determines the conversion of electricity to GHG emissions under the “Fuel & Energy” tab in a GHG assessment. The average annual temperature determines the emissions from fertiliser and soil carbon management (e.g. manure application, tillage).

Category: General

Yes, you can copy the data of an existing assessment by clicking on “save as” at the end of any tab of the assessments’ pathway. This allows you to save the whole assessment under a new name and change the data as needed.

This provides you with the opportunity to complete subsequent assessments based on the first assessment without having to re-enter all the information. It also provides the opportunity for scenario and what-if modelling to explore the impact of potential practice changes.

Category: General

The tool is set up to represent one specific farm and its related location and climate. If you need to register data from several farms in different regions/countries, consider creating different accounts to reflect the differences in climate until the CFA develops an option for multiple farms in one account. You can also use one test assessment as baseline and see how changing the location and climate in the farm settings under your username actually affect the final results. If the difference is not big enough, it is your decision whether to create different accounts or to make all assessments in one account deciding on one representative location.

GHG - Crops

Category: GHG - Crops

It takes just 10 -15 minutes to get a rough estimate of your carbon footprint by entering information off the top of your head. To refine this estimate using information from farm records can take longer, about 30-60 minutes, but this will become easier and more efficient with each new assessment. Often the most time consuming part is looking up and estimating the exact kWh and fuel for the given crop from all your electricity and fuel bills. After completion, you may also wish to spend some time exploring options for reducing GHG emissions and making a plan.

Category: GHG - Crops

Not yet. We recognise how valuable this would be and are collecting the data necessary to provide this. We need to ensure we have sufficient good quality data before building this into the tool and are setting up a data ethics framework to also assure the responsible use of data. This is on our members’ ‘wish list’ for the future. We suggest to look for available regional or national GHG analysis published by the government or institutions of your country.

Category: GHG - Crops

The crop affects your carbon footprint via residues, below-ground biomass, and nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen application. If you don’t see your crop listed, choose from the “other” crops at the bottom of the drop-down list. The main impact of not finding a direct match is that you will have to provide your own estimate of crop residue. This figure is to be entered in dry weight.

Category: GHG - Crops

New annual crops may be added to the Cool Farm Tool when the following information can be provided: dry matter fraction, above-ground nitrogen fraction, the ratio of above and below-ground biomass, below-ground nitrogen fraction, as well as an estimate of residue amounts based on gross yield. Please contact the Cool Farm Alliance for further information.

Category: GHG - Crops

Crop residues are to be entered in terms of DRY MATTER.

Category: GHG - Crops

The Cool Farm Tool uses IPCC guidelines to estimate residues. These values are only estimates but have quite an impact on field emissions. Furthermore, the amount of residues is greatly dependent on the management at the field level. If you/the user has more accurate data available, please overwrite the default values.

Category: GHG - Crops

This section only considers the nitrogen emissions from the mineralization of the residues (emissions). In the past, the Cool Farm Tool also estimated the potential soil carbon increase from leaving the residues in the field (carbon storage. However, this increase would only happen if this is a management that has been changed recently (past 20 years). For all other cases, the soil carbon would be in equilibrium and no additional carbon is stored (see answers on soil carbon change).

Category: GHG - Crops

There are two options: choose the one closest to it (evt. only indicate the active element under ‘fertilizer,weight or units’), or define your custom NPK blend by indicating the percentage for all elements. Also, specify the percentage of N applied as ammonium, nitrate, or urea.

Category: GHG - Crops

The % of total N entered in the top row must be the sum of %N entered for nitrate, ammonium, and urea (e.g. if 30% N comes equally from ammonium & urea, it’s 15/0/15% ). Please correct the values.

Category: GHG - Crops

Soil emissions include background emissions as well as nitrogen application- related emissions. Background emission always occurs also if no nitrogen is added, due to mineralization of soil organic matter. Also, the below-ground biomass of your crop adds nitrogen to the soil, which is mineralized and triggers emissions. The highest nitrogen fraction for below-ground biomass can be found for nitrogen-fixing forage and is lowest for crops such as rice, sorghum or millet. The soil-related emissions are assessed using not the IPCC guidelines, but the widely accepted Bowman model.

Category: GHG - Crops

Yes, the carbon footprints of Cool Farm Tool include fertilizer production emissions and considers different regions of production.

Category: GHG - Crops

These emissions are allocated to the production of milk or meat in the Cool Farm Tool and therefore there are no production emissions allocated to the crop carbon footprint.

Category: GHG - Crops

Because of the high number of agro-chemicals available to farmers, it is beyond the scope of this model to incorporate a detailed emissions sub-model for this aspect. The coefficient used for pesticides is 20.5 kg CO2e per application per hectare, which represents the best average available. We conducted a review of this issue in 2010 and concluded that refining this factor was unimportant because of the relatively small portion of the overall footprint represented by pesticides combined with the number of formulations available and the potential difficulties in obtaining information about product manufacture.

Category: GHG - Crops

No, this is currently not supported by the Cool Farm Tool. However, if you know the average fuel consumption per hour and the total motor hours you can use the fuel use section to provide a more accurate estimate.

Category: GHG - Crops

The different emission factors refer to the fact that CHP heat, electricity or biogas may be used for own consumption (on-site), made available for other users (export) or retrieved from a CHP that does not belong to your farm (import). The emission factors are as follows:

When using CHP please be aware of double counting. If your CHP runs on natural gas and you have entered the consumption already under energy use, do not enter anything here. You may, however, receive a discount for exported electricity or heat!

Category: GHG - Crops

Change in soil carbon (release or sequestration of emissions) is estimated based on differences in the management of tillage and cover crops. Also, the transformation from grassland to arable land and vice versa is considered. The method is based on Ogle et al. 2005 and is suggested by the IPCC 2006 guidelines for land use, management and change.

The approach simulates the increase or decrease of soil carbon in a soil layer of up to 30 cm over a time period of 20 years by considering the types of changes compared to current use, management, and soil carbon. The kind of intervention (e.g. from till to no-till, from forests to arable land) and soil carbon stock determine the magnitude of change. This change is then equally attributed over a 20-years period (linear attribution).

After the 20-year period, the soil carbon has reached a new equilibrium and will no longer change. Therefore, data entries of practices that have been introduced more than 20 years ago wont impact emission results.

Category: GHG - Crops

The IPCC Tier 1 method, which the Cool Farm Tool uses as the basis of its soil carbon module, observes that soil carbon under annual production is a fixed fraction of the native (pre-agriculture) carbon stock. It also says that management practices such as changing tillage or organic inputs to the soil change the carbon stock by a fixed fraction relative to current stock (the fraction being the amount of carbon stored or released).

This means that soils with a higher native stock tend to still have more carbon under agricultural production than soils which have lower native stocks. And this in turn means that if, after long term agricultural production, soil carbon stocks and thus soil organic matter are higher on Field X than Field Y, then Field X also has more potential gain (as a fraction of a higher carbon stock is bigger than a fraction of a low carbon stock). This is reflected in higher sequestration rates for soils with higher soil organic matter in the tool.

Also, please note that the Cool Farm Tool is only build for soils with soil organic matter (SOM) up to 10%.

Category: GHG - Crops

The IPCC defines tillage categories as below. As there are many tillage options available to farmers, anything which isn’t clearly at one end or the other can get classified as “reduced till.”

When you consider ticking the box for tilling under the “carbon” tab in the CFT, think of “no-till”, “reduced-till”, and “conventional till” as terms that apply to a rotation rather than to crops in a rotation. “No-till” means the land is never tilled, “conventional till” means annual or more than annual tillage, “reduced-till” is anything in between.

Although the tool can be used in many ways to try to predict subtle effects of annual difference in management, these give the illusion of a precision the tool really doesn’t have. The effects of soil management changes on soil carbon are highly unpredictable in the 3-5 years after a practice change. Farmers should tick the box on tillage changes only if/when they are confident that the transition to a different tillage system is of longer term (>5 years).

If on a growing area farmers manage crops in rotation with different tilling practices, they should always choose the most conservative option, e.g. if the management switches between no-till & reduced till, choose reduced till for any crop in the rotation.

Conventional tillage: Substantial soil disturbance with full inversion and/or frequent (within year) tillage operations. At planting time, little (e.g., <30%) of the surface is covered by residues.
 
Reduced tillage: Primary and/or secondary tillage but with reduced soil disturbance (usually shallow and without full soil inversion). Normally leaves surface with >30% coverage by residues at planting.
 
No-till: Direct seeding without primary tillage, with only minimal soil disturbance in the seeding zone. Herbicides are typically used for weed control.

Some examples:

  • (a) The farmer does not own the field, they cannot make long term decisions for tillage on that field.  If the field is not owned or if the farmer is not confident about their tillage plans in the future, assume that the tillage system they have used in the recent past will continue and assign the tillage class as the most intensive tillage system used in the cropping rotation during the past 4 years.
  • (b) If the field is owned by the farmer, if possible, add a question for the Specialist to ask the farmer about his/her tillage plans specific to the field, moving forward.  The farmer can select from among our current tillage classes.
    • In the case where the farmer anticipates applying different tillage options to different crops (e.g. no-till for soy and 1-pass for corn) select the most intensive tillage class to apply to the field in the CFT.
    • If the farmer does not know what he/she plans for tillage or isn’t decided, use the previous data and select the most intensive tillage class that they have historically used.
Category: GHG - Crops

Currently, only the effect on soil carbon has been accounted for. The nitrogen added in plant residues through N fixation leading to higher nitrous oxide emissions and ammonia emissions is not considered at the moment. If the cover crop is fertilized, you can include that additional N in your total N additions. This way you can see the benefits on emissions when reducing nitrogen inputs.

Category: GHG - Crops

There are two ways to reflect this in the tool. You can indicate cover crops in the assessment of the crop that is preceded by a cover crop. Nothing should be indicated in the assessment of crops for which you don’t grow cover crops.

Alternatively, you can distribute the carbon sink benefits across all crops in the rotation, e.g. if you grow cover crops in 4 out of 5 years on the whole field in rotation, you can indicate 80% cover crops in all crop assessments. The latter is safer as it is a more accurate reflection of reality.

Both the main crop and the cover crop (e.g. grass cover) are sold or used (e.g. as feed) and thus need to be modelled in separate assessments. As the cover crop is added prior to the main crop and provides roots in the ground that would otherwise be bare, tick the cover crop box for the main crop, but not in the assessment of the cover crop to ensure that you are not double counting.

Category: GHG - Crops

The model uses different allometric equations that determine biomass based on very few parameters, which are easy to measure (e.g. diameter at breast height). The selection is based on the allometric equations included in the IPCC 2006 report. Unfortunately, we do not have any European hardwood included yet. This is a drawback communicated by different users and is currently being developed as part of the new perennial crop module.

Category: GHG - Crops

The Cool Farm Tool is in the process of including additional tree species to the tool. In general, what is needed is an allometric equation that determines above ground biomass based on 1 or 2 easily observed parameters. The Cool Farm Alliance is always open to discuss further improvements of the methods. However, all improvements require not only the methods itself but also the funding for the IT implementation. At the same time, we want to keep the tool simple and uncluttered. Please contact the Alliance via support@coolfarmtool.org to discuss any potential inclusion of new tree species.

Category: GHG - Crops

The Cool Farm Tool covers seed emissions only for potato, but not for the remaining field crops. In general, these emissions are quite low, compared to the other sources of emission. However, there has also been increasing demand for including this source of emission and may be included in the future.

This depends on the scope you have defined for your assessments. Do you want to determine the emissions till the farm gate or e.g. till processor? Livestock feed, compost or other heavy inputs transported to the farm and used in production should be included.
For fertilizers, the tool does not automatically include transport emissions, as the location of production is often not known. Good practice, however, may be to also include the transport from your direct supplier. For feed items, the data includes transport from point of production to the Netherlands using a global average. You may want to include the transport from your direct supplier to your farm, which would provide a good estimate for feed items.

If fuel consumption accounts for all machinery use and transport at your farm you don’t need to provide any information on machinery use and transport. Please do only provide machinery use and transport for operations not included in the fuel consumption.

In the beef and dairy module, the “manure” tab accounts for the emissions from management and storage of manure collected from animals in-house (emissions from manure left on field during grazing is already calculated by the tool). Select the applicable manure management type. If you do not have any storage and apply your manure daily, use “daily spread”.

In any case, you also need to account for the emissions through fertiliser application. Therefore, please also indicate the applied manure either in the section “grazing – grassland fertilisation” or in the crop module under “inputs”.

Category: GHG - Crops

When making an assessment in the tool, it is an annual footprint of a crop, but also of a specific growing area. When you grow different crops in a rotation, the different crops that follow each other need to be assessed individually and separately. You should indicate all related practices, soil characteristics etc. for a specific crop as well as the growing area on which it is cultivated.

If you grow different crops on the same field, you can use the function “save as” to duplicate the assessment of one crop, and consequently change the entries to the new crop that is on this field (make sure e.g. to indicate the used area for crop, reset the residue amount and represent the cultivation practices for the new crop). Finally, the most interesting part is the land management: if you use cover crops or tilling in your rotation, this is the only thing that needs special care. Please see the relevant questions in this FAQ. Once you assessed the different crops, you can combine the footprints offline to get a picture of the emissions of this rotation.

Even if we do not include any methodology of the positive effect of rotation in the tool, you will be able to record e.g. changes in the SOM due to rotational practices, and thus indirectly monitor the positive effects of your practices on your soil.

Category: GHG - Crops

You can account for this in the “carbon” tab of a crop assessment. If you converted a field that was previously under crop production to an orchard, select a land use change from arable -> grassland. Then indicate the planted trees and their growth under the section 6.1 out of crop biomass changes. If you change a grassland to an orchard, do not indicate any land use change (orchard can be considered same as grassland), and add again the planted trees as biomass in the “carbon” tab section 6.1.

Water

Category: Water

The number represents gross irrigation divided by crop water requirements. This describes how much of the crop requirements are supplied by irrigation. Therefore, the lower the number the less irrigation water-dependent is your production. However, depending on precipitation this number can either be good or bad. If you don’t irrigate sufficiently and precipitation is also not enough you might have a big water yield gap.

There are other definitions that describe irrigation efficiency and are currently being explored.

Category: Water
We are currently in the process to connect to a new database for our meteorological data. The Cool Farm Tool has previously used daily ERA-Interim climate data. However, ECMWF has stopped maintaining ERA-Interim in 2018. Therefore, the weather data needed for the metric is not available and does not allow for GHG and water footprints for crops harvested after 2018. The whole module currently displays errors.
 
We recommend to complete assessments only for GHG for the time being until we have connected the CFT to the new climate database and the water module is up and running again.
Category: Water

Like the carbon tool, we do not run a crop growth model to simulate the effect of different management interventions on crop production. To understand the full effect of different management on water footprints and water use efficiency please make adjustments to yield as well using your experience or other models.

Category: Water

The Cool Farm Tool does not require any information on irrigation if no irrigation is applied. For rainfed agriculture, the tool will estimate water use, water footprints and water use efficiency based on precipitation only. Therefore, you will only see a green water footprint on the result page.

Food Loss & Waste

In most cases, the numbers on the result page add up to the same value. However, due to the rounding of the values, the numbers might be slightly different.

GHG - Livestock

Both the main crop and the cover crop (e.g. grass cover) are sold or used (e.g. as feed) and thus need to be modelled in separate assessments. As the cover crop is added prior to the main crop and provides roots in the ground that would otherwise be bare, tick the cover crop box for the main crop, but not in the assessment of the cover crop to ensure that you are not double counting.

This depends on the scope you have defined for your assessments. Do you want to determine the emissions till the farm gate or e.g. till processor? Livestock feed, compost or other heavy inputs transported to the farm and used in production should be included.
For fertilizers, the tool does not automatically include transport emissions, as the location of production is often not known. Good practice, however, may be to also include the transport from your direct supplier. For feed items, the data includes transport from point of production to the Netherlands using a global average. You may want to include the transport from your direct supplier to your farm, which would provide a good estimate for feed items.

If fuel consumption accounts for all machinery use and transport at your farm you don’t need to provide any information on machinery use and transport. Please do only provide machinery use and transport for operations not included in the fuel consumption.

In the beef and dairy module, the “manure” tab accounts for the emissions from management and storage of manure collected from animals in-house (emissions from manure left on field during grazing is already calculated by the tool). Select the applicable manure management type. If you do not have any storage and apply your manure daily, use “daily spread”.

In any case, you also need to account for the emissions through fertiliser application. Therefore, please also indicate the applied manure either in the section “grazing – grassland fertilisation” or in the crop module under “inputs”.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The weight of the sold and purchased animals for the dairy module determine how much of the emissions are allocated to meat and how much to milk. In the IDF allocation formula, the Mmeat = sum of live weight livestock sold minus sum of live weight livestock purchased. The share can then be assessed on the bottom left of the result page.

For beef, the purchased numbers and live weights define the weight gain and thus the production of meat.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The Cool Farm Tool does not consider rotational grazing. In general, no soil carbon build-up is simulated yet for grasslands.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Grassland is a great storage of soil organic carbon globally and thus CO2. However, new sequestration of grasslands is quite uncertain and is assumed to not capture any additional carbon. This complies with IPCC guidelines, where only grassland that was established over the last 20 years shows an increase in soil organic carbon. After that, it is assumed that a new equilibrium has been reached in the soil and the increase in soil has carbon has come to a stop.

Category: GHG - Livestock

While many of the questions remained similar, the level of detail for has significantly increased including the underlying emission factors and algorithms. The main difference between these modules is that beef and dairy runs on an annual basis and provides an annual average carbon footprint, while the older models provide a snapshot of the current animal stock and estimate emissions based on a lifecycle. Therefore, a direct comparison of both modules is not possible.

We are planning to update the “Other livestock” module, but have no yet defined specific timelines for this.

Category: GHG - Livestock

In theory, this can be done e.g. for compound feed by providing the ingredients via the current user interface. Each ingredient would be a separate assessment. However, we understand that this is quite cumbersome, and very few users have requested the functionality to create own new feed items.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The values used in the Cool Farm Tool are average annual IPCC emission factors. While there is a link between emissions and duration of storage, it is a lot more complex to estimate the emissions in this detail and would make the tool less easy to apply.

Category: GHG - Livestock

There is the option to include sequestration into the feed items when using the crop pathway of the CFT to generate an carbon footprint for your own produced feed item. The default feed values in the livestock module do not consider sequestration.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Under manure management, the tool only considers the manure that is collected while the herd in the stable. The percentage of the different types of manure management per animal category should thus add up to 100 %. The tool automatically deducts the manure “production” during grazing.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Cool Farm Tool uses the emission factors for manure management form the IPCC guidelines. Please select “Liquid slurry with natural crust cover”. Both prevent methane emissions and have the same emission factor.

Category: GHG - Livestock

This is currently not implemented in the Cool Farm Tool, however, it will indirectly be taken into account due to lower fossil energy use.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Yes, if you do not specify manager manure for each category, the tool will default to an emission factor that is equivalent to manure applied during grazing.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The feed is quite a big leaver for the beef and dairy modules and thus the values should be as close to reality as possible, by indicating the DMI per animal category. If the exact quantities for each category are not available, please use feed approach 2 and enter the shares for each feed item for the entire herd. Unfortunately, there is no easier option.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Cool Farm Tool determines feed demand, enteric fermentation, manure, etc. for 365 days for each animal entered in the herd section tab. Therefore, it is important to consider the time animals spend on the farm. If these only remain on-farm for half a year it is important to also correct the number of animals. For example, if you have 12 calves that are all sold after 2 months it is important to only enter 2 in the herd section.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The categories reflect the different stages and use cases on a beef or dairy farm. Some users perceive them as too few categories others as too many categories. The current grouping was for us the best compromise of accuracy and data availability. Also, having categories where the period is shorter than one year does not make sense, as the tool determines an annual carbon footprint and it would result in that the same animal would occur in multiple categories.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Please use the dairy pathway and adjust the weights of the different animal categories in the ‘herd’ tab to show the correct live weight added. The beef carbon footprint is not directly available, but it can be derived from the graph at the end of the results page showing the proportion of meat and milk emissions (please also see the other questions on meat carbon footprint).

Category: GHG - Livestock

Both grassland quality levels have the same dry matter content but differ in the digestibility. The digestive efficiency for high-quality grassland is 12 %, while it is 10 % for low-quality grassland. The lower the digestive efficiency, the higher is the methane emissions from enteric fermentation.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The fuel use estimates in the crop module consider machinery, but also soil texture and fuel. In the beef and dairy modules, we do no collect soil information, but only consider the total amount of fuel used. As machinery operations are very different to the current crop approach, the list would be incomplete for this type of farm. However, the Alliance currently considers to include operations relevant to grassland operations into the beef and dairy module.

Category: GHG - Livestock

This is dependent on the approach that is being used. If you provide information for each category, the feed intake of each feed item is provided as dry-matter. The second feed approach is using average values for the entire herd as a percentage of fresh-matter.

Users who grow their own feed and assess it in the CFT, will obtain their crop emission factor from the crop module “Farm-gate ready amount” as fresh matter. In the feed tab, they enter the feed as dry matter. The feed database contains default moisture content percentages and these should be used to convert the dry matter volumes into the appropriate feed emission using the fresh matter feed emission factor.
A bug has been discovered in the software that currently counts the “farm-gate ready amount” as dry matter. This will be fixed in Q1 2022, so until then, you can enter the amount for farm-gate yields in the crop assessment as dry matter.
Category: GHG - Livestock

The emissions for feed production, coming from the internal feed database or the crop module of the Cool Farm Tool, are aggregated to CO2 eq. and include also methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Currently, it is not possible to disaggregate the greenhouse gas emissions.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The allocation between milk and meat follows the IDF methodology:

Category: GHG - Livestock

No meat carbon footprint is displayed on the result page of the dairy module. The emissions on the results page (total & per unit of FPCM) are the ones related to your milk volumes. If you only sell milk, all emissions from your production system are attributed to the milk volume you sell. However, if you also sell animals for meat production, the results you see in the tool become lower, as the share of emissions belonging to the produced meat are deducted. If you want to calculate your meat footprint, you can see the percentage of meat-related emissions in comparison to your total milk-related emissions in a disk graph on the result page. By looking at the share, the total milk emissions and the live weights sold in total, you can calculate the emissions for meat.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The model estimates feed intake based on gross energy requirements. This includes energy for growth, grazing, and lactation among others. The second feed approach uses the gross energy requirements to determine total feed intake based on feed items. It is important to understand that this approach is less accurate compared to feed approach 1 and may lead to an overestimation (underfeeding) or underestimation (overfeeding) of feed production-related emissions.

Category: GHG - Livestock

There are two feed approaches in the Cool Farm Tool: The first one allows to specify the dry matter intake for each feed item for each animal category, while the second requests the percentage of fresh matter intake for each feed item for the entire herd. The YM value is determined as the weighted average of the digestive efficiency of all feed items either for each animal category (feed approach 1) or the entire herd (feed approach 2).

Category: GHG - Livestock

If you aggregate all emission results from dairy and crop assessments, and you used the crop assessments as items in your livestock assessments, you would do some double counting. Which feed approach do you use? (Approach 1 defines dry matter intake for each animal category, Approach 2 provides % fresh matter intake for the entire heard.) The best would be to discount the emissions from the crop assessment that are used for feed for your own animals.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Yes, hectare is considered as base unit. However, more importantly, the feed assessment is taken into account by taking the emissions per weight. So if you feed your animals x amount, the emissions for that x amount is calculated.

Category: GHG - Livestock

The other livestock feed section is based on feed approach 2 (averages for the whole herd per animal phase). This governs manure quantity estimates and methane emissions. Therefore, you should indicate an estimate of the total DMI of all feed items per day. You can use breed based defaults or enter your own estimate.

Category: GHG - Livestock

Yes. According to the Feedprint database the tool uses, a default emission factor for land use change is taken into consideration for each feed item in the tool. However, there may be significant differences between the global averages and country-specific production. The global emission factor for soybean e.g. is roughly 4 kgCO2/kg mostly driven by land-use change. But soybean produced in regions without any land-use change may have an emission factor below 1 kgCO2/kg. These factors will change once will link the CFT to the GFLI database.

If you create your own feed footprint, you can account for deforestation or non-deforestation by indicating the relevant land use change and  and the out of crop biomass under the “carbon” tab.

Category: GHG - Livestock

In the case of chicken or eggs, juvenile is the pullet phase, adult productive is laying hens and adult non-productive is during molting. For sows, the categories might not make as much sense since the whole “productive” process is just the maturing and gaining weight. The reason to separate might be if the feed ration is different for one age group of sows or another. If there are no differences, you do not need to used the “non-productive” category (or any of the categories) if they are not helpful.

Category: GHG - Livestock

No, dead animals should not be included under sold animals, as otherwise the GHG footprint would be underestimated. Dead animals did consume feed and emit GHG emissions during their live, but are not producing meat, because dead animals are not used for consumption but incinerated. If they would be included under sold animals, more of the emissions would be allocated to that part and the footprint of milk/meat would be too low. Improved herd management with less dead animals is in that way also a mitigation option, as the overall footprint will be lower because more milk/meat is produced with the same inputs.

Category: GHG - Livestock

This depends of different factors, because the correlation of feed and emissions is complex. Quite often we see higher GHG emissions for organic milk as the productivity is lower and the grass-based diet triggers higher methane and manure emissions. On the other side for conventional milk production with high protein diets and high dry matter content, we see lower methane and manure emissions and thus lower GHG emissions per kg milk. These feed systems however have very high emissions for the dry matter feed items used.

Therefore, productivity plays an important part, and above factors should help to understand results from the tool. When looking at the numbers, a user should ask “what causes the increase in emissions (feed, methane, manure)? How does the results look when considering total emissions vs. emissions per kg of milk?”

Category: GHG - Livestock

Including sold and purchased animals (and their weights) is necessary for the correct calculation of life cycle emissions. Especially in the beef pathway, the functional unit for the livestock pathways is “live weight added” (‘total sold weight’ – ‘total purchased weight’ = total live wight added). By having no purchased or sold animals you have 0 as the denominator so it can’t calculate the functional unit.

Category: GHG - Livestock

For the animals on farm, the  Cool Farm Tool works on a whole year basis and so we are trying to calculate on average how much manure and methane is produced by these animals in a year. If the animals are only present for half the year, you only want to calculate half the emissions. Therefore, only half the number of animals should be entered.

For the number of animals sold, we are interested in the total weight of meat that is being produced in order to allocate emissions against that volume. Therefore, we need the total number of animals, rather than the average.

Biodiversity

Category: Biodiversity

The Cool Farm Tool Biodiversity metric allows farmers to score points for the good practices they are implementing. This is a way for them to demonstrate the good they are doing and gain recognition for this. The tool boils complexity into a series of multiple choice questions that help you quantify baseline impacts on biodiversity, and measure and track improvements over time. As buyers continue to want more transparency and evidence of good practice, the biodiversity score give you a way to provide this.

Category: Biodiversity

You do not need to have any data on biodiversity at hand, but you need knowledge of the practices you implement on your farm and the sizes of areas that are not in production or managed as conservation area for biodiversity. The tool asks you about each practice you employ and gives you a score from which you can see which species groups are benefiting from your practices.

Category: Biodiversity

The scope of the CFT Biodiversity metric is whole farm. The other metrics – GHG and Water – are calculated on a crop by crop basis, so this method is different in this respect.

Category: Biodiversity

Assessments are initially awarded 21% for not using conventional crop protection products, which can have a negative impact on biodiversity if not managed appropriately. The 21% are lost once product types (insecticides, fungicides etc) are specified in question 2.3, but can later be recovered for actions related to responsible use (2.4 – 2.8).

Category: Biodiversity

The scores reflect the the practices in place that support biodiversity. The more good practices, the higher the score. Scores are given as a percentage of the maximum possible score in each category. These are shown as a bar chart on the left for species groups, and as dials on the right for general biodiversity components. For different species groups, actual scores are also presented. In the example (below right), the score 6/22 for ‘wetland or aquatic flora’ means there are 22 points available for this group, and your management practices achieved 6 of them (27%).
The land use pie chart tells you how much of each broad habitat type you are providing on your farm, as a proportion of its total area. For example, ‘woody habitats’ includes all your hedgerows, trees and areas of woodland or forest.

Category: Biodiversity

At the bottom of the results page you can download a pdf. This can go on your notice board, you can show it or send to customers, but most of all, it is for you as a record of your achievement and a baseline from which you can build.

Category: Biodiversity

You can always go back and change answers. To go back, just click the tab and scroll down to the one question you left blank. But remember to go back to it or you will miss out on points!

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