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.

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