Research & Theory

  • Confidence levels

    In the Report you will see a reference to Confidence Levels in the results. This refers to how much confidence we have in the actual figures produced by the Calculator for each item, on a range from 1 to 3, where:

    1 - lower confidence

    2- medium

    3 - high confidence

    This is because some items are inherently far more reliable and understood than others. For instance, diesel or electricity is high confidence - you know how much you've used and therefore the calculation for what the emissions are is quite mathematical.

    Conversely emissions from compost, or sequestration in hedgerows are difficult to be accurate with because they are biological and therefore there are a lot of variables.

    We therefore have the Confidence levels to give transparency. Please bear in mind however that every emissions/sequestration factor is backed up by firm science and we aim to provide the most accurate figures available.

  • What's included/excluded?

    The scope of the Calculator is scopes 1, 2 and 3 – meaning it is comprehensive and covers direct and indirect emissions. In IPCC Livestock calculations it covers Tiers 1 and 2.

    In line with other carbon calculators, we recognise that there is no one national or international standard that covers the exact requirements of a farm carbon report.

    PAS 2050 is widely used to calculate the GHG emissions from various products and services. Its methodology is used in the Calculator, however its scope falls short of what is required for a complete farm carbon footprint, in that it doesn’t include Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, nor carbon sequestration. Therefore our reports are only PAS 2050 compliant for the areas of which the Standard covers.

    We believe that this wider scope of the Calculator means the Farm Carbon Calculator is far more comprehensive and accurate for the user.

Technical Issues

  • Methodology

    Behind the Calculator lies a robust and detailed structure to calculate the carbon emissions and sequestration factors that ultimately give you a Carbon Report.

    We have outlined what methodology we follow, how Standards structure our work and what references we use in this comprehensive document.

  • Updates to the Calculator

    We aim to update the Farm Carbon Calculator at least twice a year, sometimes more often. We always publish a list of what has changed since the previous update here in the Resources section.

    When any emissions or sequestration factors are updated in the Calculator, there will be a change in the carbon footprint of those particular items. Often these are relatively small changes, but in any case are due to new research or changes in scientific understanding of processes.

    For new reports all factors will be derived from the updated list of factors.

    For existing reports the old factors will apply unless the user chooses to update them. This can be done by going to a report > Edit Data, then for each item click Edit and then re-Save. This will then apply the new emissions/sequestration factor for that item. However we tend to recommend not updating factors on old reports, as they were correct at the time of the report being created.

     

     

  • Business Types

    When setting up a new Carbon Report, you are asked to choose a Business Type. This is so you can be clear what enterprises on the farm are being included, and we can assess data in the back-end of the system to generate (anonymous and aggregated) valuable benchmarking figures for sectors.

    There are various categories; tick any that are relevant to your business:

    Arable, Beef, Dairy, Fruit, Lowland grazing, Mixed (arable/livestock), Other, Pigs, Potatoes, Poultry - layers, Poultry - meat, Sheep, Upland grazing, Vegetables, Vineyards, Processing, Wineries, Non-agricultural business.

Using the Calculator

  • Can it be used by all farm types?

    Yes. The Calculator can be used by farmers and growers with livestock, arable, horticulture, etc. This includes farms on any scale, soil type or place in the UK.

  • What's new?

    We have a complete list of what’s different and improved about this version of the Calculator is listed here https://farmcarbontoolkit.org.uk/resources/carbon-calculator/whats-new-2020

  • How long will it take to fill in?

    This depends on how complex your business is and how organised your records are! The longest part is collating your data in the first place, which could take anything from two or three hours to a whole day. However, once you know where to get the data needed, subsequent times are much quicker.

    Filling in data to the Calculator itself is straight forward once you have the necessary data, between around 30 mins and 2 hours.

  • How much does it cost?

    The Farm Carbon Calculator is free for all farmers and growers who are not using it for directly profitable purposes. 

    For consultants or paid advisors using the calculator, we charge a license fee and offer training. Please contact us to find out more.

    We also offer 'white label' versions of the Calculator to companies and organisations.

  • How do you calculate your carbon footprint?

    You need to enter data about your farm business, and through the Calculator we convert this in to a carbon footprint. We ask you for details about the following areas of your farm:

    • Fuels, electricity and business travel

    • Materials, machinery and buildings

    • Cropping and fertility

    • Livestock

    • Inputs (fertilisers and sprays)

    • Waste and recycling

    • Distribution

    • Carbon sequestration in soils and biomass

    Once you have the information, you fill in your data in our Carbon Calculator. To do this follow the instructions in the video on the Calculator home page, or use this guide.

  • What will it show me?

    It will show you the total carbon emissions and carbon offsets, expressed as tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), percentage of total emissions/sequestration, and the carbon balance of your business.

    The results also show full detail of the emissions/offsets for every item you enter in the Calculator. Live results also appear as you enter in data, enabling you to compare the results of different items.

    Results are shown in varying levels of detail, highlight emissions hotspots, show Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, emissions of CO2e, nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4).

  • Business Types

    When setting up a new Carbon Report, you are asked to choose a Business Type. This is so you can be clear what enterprises on the farm are being included, and we can assess data in the back-end of the system to generate (anonymous and aggregated) valuable benchmarking figures for sectors.

    There are various categories; tick any that are relevant to your business:

    Arable, Beef, Dairy, Fruit, Lowland grazing, Mixed (arable/livestock), Other, Pigs, Potatoes, Poultry - layers, Poultry - meat, Sheep, Upland grazing, Vegetables, Vineyards, Processing, Wineries, Non-agricultural business.

  • Product footprints

    The Farm Carbon Calculator is generally designed to calculate the footprint of a whole farm, but it can also be used to generate product footprints.

    For example your farm might produce milk, wheat and potatoes. You can calculate the footprint of any one of those separately if required.

    To do this you will need to create an Overheads report to capture things that are common to the whole farm, such as Machinery, Buildings, Woodland and Hedges. We have a detailed guide to setting up an Overheads report in the Resources section.

FCC Consultancy

  • Do you offer consultancy services?

    Calculated your carbon footprint, but need some more help? We can assist your business in taking the next steps.

    We offer consultancy and training services to farmers and growers, organisations, and food chain businesses. This can include interpreting results, verifying data, creating a Carbon Action Plan, or doing soil analysis on your farm. Please see here for more information.

  • Receiving advice from us - for farmers and consultants

    There is advice on how to use the Calculator throughout this website (plus a video here). If you are unable to find the answers you’re looking for, please contact us and we'll do our best to support you.

    To understand the meaning of your carbon report and plan your low carbon journey, please browse our Toolkit and the various case studies on our website. If you’re a farmer with specific questions then we will do our best to answer them for you – please contact us. For anything more detailed, we offer consultancy services for farmers, advisors and companies.