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Harper Forum report - Alltech ECO2

Posted 7 February 2016

The overriding theme of the talk was that sustainable agriculture is an opportunity for farmers which can lead to huge cost savings and improve their profitability while reducing their environmental impact."

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Sustainable Agriculture ‘Challenge or Opportunity?’ a talk by Carrie Bellas and Victoria Roberts of Alltech E-CO2.

Report by student Thomas Whittaker

Our most recent Forum guests were Carrie Bellas, Farm Services Consultant, and Victoria Roberts, Contract Manager, from Alltech E-CO2. Their talk ‘Sustainable Agriculture Challenge or Opportunity?’ was a good opportunity to learn about the work Alltech E-CO2 do for farmers and the benefits of carbon foot printing. 

Based on an ex-dairy farm in Cheshire, E-CO2 was founded in 2009 before being taken over by Alltech in February last year. Alltech is a top 10 animal health company and is the only such company still privately owned and not involved in pharmaceuticals. Their guiding principles are to ‘Support the Animal, Provide for the Consumer and Care for the Environment’, which E-CO2 are responsible for.

Alltech E-CO2 specialises in carbon and water assessments for farms and is now a marke- leading agri-environmental software and consultancy company, with more than 5,000 farm consultancy visits having been carried out throughout Europe. As well as working with smaller businesses, Alltech E-CO2 also works with many large organisations such as McDonalds, Arla, Nestle and Asda to help reduce their carbon footprint.

Reducing carbon emissions is a hot topic currently as the UK has a target to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020, and as it has been proven that livestock supply chains represent 14.5% of human induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If targets are not met then there is the risk that carbon taxes and more legislation will be enforced on farmers, it is therefore vital that livestock farmers play their part in reducing their carbon footprint. 

85% of CO2 in food production is generated at farm-level and in a litre of milk 80% of emissions come from the farm/ before the gate shows that farmers can play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When undertaking a carbon footprint assessment on farm Alltech E-CO2 will examine the Nitrous oxide (from crops and soils, largely from fertiliser use), Methane (from enteric fermentation and waste management) and Carbon dioxide (from stationary and mobile machinery). Once the carbon footprint has been calculated Alltech E-CO2 provide support and solutions to be implemented in order to reduce their carbon footprint.  The lowest carbon farms are usually those with the lowest cost of production as they are more efficient and waste less.  Alltech E-CO2 have helped 10% of Arla suppliers achieve a 7% reduction in carbon footprint between 2009 and 2014, equivalent to powering  an average of 27 homes for a year per Arla farm.

The overriding theme of the talk was that sustainable agriculture is an opportunity for farmers which can lead to huge cost savings and improve their profitability while reducing their environmental impact.

This Thursday we will welcome Dai Morgan, an agronomist at BCW. He will be giving a talk on The agronomists’ toolbox, which will be highly relevant to those with an interest in agronomy and arable farming. Starting at 7PM, it will be held in the Foulkes Crowther Lecture Theatre and all staff and students are welcome!

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