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.