Eblex publishes third instalment of roadmap

Farmers can reduce their carbon emissions by focusing on four key areas, according to the latest update to Eblex’s ongoing roadmap work.

The third publication in the roadmap series, Down to Earth, was launched in London yesterday (30 Jan). It includes sections on emissions benchmarking, carbon sequestration, waste in the supply chain, retailer activity and farmer case studies.

The publication includes the results of a carbon footprint survey of nearly 200 farms in England. Analysis of this data revealed that there are four key ways in which beef and sheep farms can improve efficiency and bottom-line performance, as well as reducing their carbon footprint. These were: achieving optimum daily liveweight gains; selecting for slaughter at optimum weights and specifications; feeding good-quality grass or ration to maximise rumen efficiency; and achieving best output per breeding animal.

These findings tie in with the findings of the second part of the roadmap, Testing the Water, and Eblex’s Business Pointers benchmarking project.

“Once again this work is showing that carbon efficiency goes hand in hand with economic efficiency, so improving the areas highlighted will bring double rewards. This is an important message for farmers,” said Chris Lloyd, Eblex industry development manager, who is leading the roadmap work.

Lloyd added that the survey, which was carried out in partnership with McDonald’s, meant that Eblex had its largest carbon data set yet. “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 said.

Down to Earth also looks at soil sequestration for the first time and the potential mitigating role this plays for grazing livestock in offsetting direct emissions. In addition, it looks other areas of the red meat supply chain where efficiencies can be made – for instance in the processing sector and with retailers who are engaging with their own suppliers to improve their carbon rating.
Welcoming the publication, Farming Minister Jim Paice said: “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.”
Hard copies of the report are available on request by emailing admin@eblex.ahdb.org.uk. Alternatively, an electronic copy is available to download in the corporate publications section at www.eblex.org.uk.