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New industry network launched to tackle crop production’s carbon footprint

A new network is launching to bring together the entire  food  supply chain – from food and drink manufacturers and supermarkets to fertiliser companies and growers – to meet the industry’s target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2040.

The network, named YEN Zero, is a new initiative by researchers from ADAS, the largest independent environmental and agricultural consultancy in the UK.

Calculating crop carbon footprints 

The production of  arable crops,  including  cereals and oilseeds, contributes to farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, primarily  through the use of  artificial nitrogen fertilisers and cultivation choices.

Currently, there is no standard for measuring GHG emissions in crop production, which makes it difficult for those further up the supply chain to quantify the agricultural contribution to their total emissions.

YEN Zero will undertake the analysis and benchmarking of combinable crop carbon footprints on a per-field basis  with the near-future aspiration of growing this to carbon accounting on a whole-farm scale.

This benchmarking of crop GHG intensities will  enable fair and easy comparison of emissions among farms, fields and crops. From there,  it  will be  possible  to see what  agronomic practices are driving these emissions and test which  mitigation  strategies work best  on farms.

Successful strategies will then be shared  with  members of  the network.  Researchers will also work  directly  with growers and their supporters to help  optimise their production with reduced inputs.

“We are really excited to have such strong support from organisations across the supply chain to bring our YEN approach to tackling carbon emissions. By working together, we can develop a shared understanding of the issues, and share ideas and experience of ‘what works’ for the industry’s journey towards net zero,” said Daniel Kindred, Head of Agronomics, ADAS.

The initiation of the network was made possible because of funding from Innovate UK.

Source: Food and Drink International