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Roadmap to a Low Carbon Farm

31 January 2012
EBLEX

UK - Achieving optimum liveweight gains, selecting for slaughter and the best weight and specification, feeding good quality grass and rations and achieving the best output in breeding are the main goals in the latest EBLEX roadmap for low carbon cattle and sheep production.

The latest chapter of the roadmap, Down to Earth, which is the third in the series of on-going reports on the carbon footprint of beef and lamb production was launched by the English Beef and Lamb Executive this week.

The roadmap, which draws on data from around 200 farms in England includes sections on emissions benchmarking, carbon sequestration, waste in the supply chain, retailer activity and farmer cases studies.

The data was drawn from carbon footprint surveys carried out by EBLEX and also by McDonalds and the results reaffirmed the findings in the second chapter of the study, Testing the Water.

Chris Lloyd, EBLEX industry development manager said: "Once again this survey is showing that carbon efficiency goes hand in hand with economic efficiency so improving the areas highlighted will bring double rewards."

The data drawn from the study shows that there is still a vast gulf between the best and the worst beef and sheep farms in producing carbon emissions and the aim of the latest chapter is to allow farmers to benchmark their own carbon production against those studied to help reduce emissions.

Mr Lloyd added: "We have our largest carbon data set yet thanks to working closely with McDonalds, and this gives us confidence in the consistency of the modelling and the general trends for carbon output from the range of English beef and sheep production systems."

He added that since the key performance indicators were set in 2009, which has set a target of a reduction in carbon emissions of 11 per cent by 2020, the farms are showing an improvement.

The latest chapter in the work has also been endorsed by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

"The updated roadmap continues to support the message that enhancing on-farm efficiency can also help to improve the environment.

"The leadership that EBLEX is demonstrating is important in ensuring that beef and sheep farmers continue to be aware of, and act on, this."

The latest chapter also takes the message of carbon savings along the whole of the chain through to the retail sector with input and recommendations from leading retailers ASDA, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose.

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