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MLA’s carbon calculator expanded to include feedlot and goat production systems

14 February 2024

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has launched an updated version of their online, web-based greenhouse gas (GHG) calculator. The previous version enabled Sheep, Beef, and Grain producers to calculate their baseline carbon emissions by digitising the Sheep and Beef Greenhouse Accounting Framework (SB-GAF) and Grain Greenhouse Accounting Framework (G-GAF) tools.

Now, for the first time, enterprises that include goat and feedlot production systems can also use the tool, as it has integrated the Goat and Feedlot Greenhouse Accounting Frameworks (Go-GAF and F-GAF).

The digitised version of the GAF tools is based off the freely available excel versions of the tools available on the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre (PICCC) website to ensure consistency across the sector.

According to MLA’s Program Manager - Environmental Sustainability, Dr Margaret Jewell, completing a carbon account is the first step producers should take to increase their carbon awareness and determine what their net GHG emissions position is.

“This helps them identify strategies to reduce their emissions and improve carbon storage on-farm, which has multiple opportunities, one of which is improved productivity and profitability”, said Dr Jewell.

“A carbon account can be used in on-farm decision making and sets a benchmark to show progress over time. Just as financial accounting aids financial decision making and reporting, carbon accounting aids decision making and reporting around how carbon is – or is not – utilised on-farm.”

“The calculator also enables the calculation of an emissions intensity figure and improves on-farm data collection and storage capabilities.”

MLA has also released the Quick Start Carbon Calculator, which allows producers to get a ballpark estimate of their GHG emissions using some basic data points (including livestock numbers, land size, rainfall and plantings).

The Quick Start Carbon Calculator does not equate to a full emissions calculation, but it is an excellent tool to generate a very quick estimate of emissions, estimate how much soil and tree carbon would be required to offset emissions, and start to consider appropriate emissions reducing activities on farm.

The Quick Start Carbon Calculator has been incorporated into a new eLearning module, Carbon in Action, available on MLA’s website.

The updated full version of the carbon calculator links with the Environmental Credentials for Grassfed Beef Platform, which was developed by an MLA led consortium funded by the Australian Government’s Smart Farms Program. The Environmental Credentials Platform will be officially launched later this year.