Online tool aims to better sheep farmer returns

A new online tool developed by Eblex and The E-CO2 Project aims to improve the returns of sheep farmers.

According to Eblex, a large amount of data has been fed into the programme and can be accessed from the Eblex website, which shows how different inputs affect the carbon output for rearer/finisher enterprises.

By entering values specific to their business, including the use of fertilisers, feed per lamb and daily liveweight gain, users can see where their carbon footprint stands.

With the data they receive, business managers can then manipulate the values and see, for example, how they can get greater daily liveweight gains or reduce the use of fertiliser inputs.

Industry development manager for Eblex Chris Lloyd said: “Research by Eblex and The E-CO2 Project shows that the sheep production sector in the UK has been steadily reducing its carbon footprint over the last few decades, but there is still a long way to go to meet government targets and changes made take time to show results.

“This new tool allows sheep producers to simply see where just small tweaks in their business practices can increase profit while protecting the environment.”

In the 10 years to 2010, the sheep industry in England delivered a credible reduction of 9.3% in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) through a greater output per ewe and a reduced reliance on artificial fertiliser.

The beef sector also managed to reduce its GHG output by an equivalent of 9.4% every 10 years since 1970 and Eblex is also working on a beef carbon footprint tool.

The UK Climate Change Act 2008 requires a reduction in agricultural GHGs of 11% by 2020 from 1990 levels. Looking further ahead, it currently sets a target overall reduction of 80% in GHGs by 2050 across the UK economy.