Armed With Data, Carbon Neutral Trial Farm Plots Next Steps
Over the last two years, OSI Europe has been working with its partner Pickstock Telford toward the goal of making a 650-acre trial farm in the U.K. carbon neutral by 2030.
The Net Zero Pathway Project has been taking place on Brongain Farm in Wales, which supplies beef to OSI U.K. and Europe. The project aims to reduce emissions at all stages of the beef production supply chain, from production of feed through processing of meat.
The key findings of this extensive research will support the work OSI is doing to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions.
Like all of our carbon-reduction projects, this one began with an extensive review to establish a baseline of total carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which are converted to CO2 equivalents.
With the baseline now established, the project partners are now able to have informed discussions about mitigation efforts and are working to identify options to reach their goals. Potential strategies they are considering include:
Sourcing feedstock locally
Transitioning to more sustainable fertilizer and optimizing its timing and application
Planting more insect-resistant clovers and grasses
Using genomics to select the least emission-intensive herd
Increasing woodlands on the farms so that trees and plants can capture and store CO2 and improve the quality of land on which cows graze
Allowing all animals to graze in one area of the farm and then rotating them to another on a regular basis. This type of "mob grazing" provides natural fertilizer to the grazed areas while plants on other parts of the farm experience long periods of recovery, enhancing their growth and sequestering more carbon.
Planting diverse grasses, legumes and herbs in the grazing area, which can produce a more productive ecosystem more resilient to droughts and floods.
Investing in solar and wind energy
Having established a baseline, OSI and Pickstock Telford will next begin a second-stage soil sampling to calculate the amount of CO2 equivalents being offset by biomass on the farms. Armed with that information, they will plan its key mitigation measures and determine how best to reach its net zero goal.
Environmental sustainability is high on the agenda for OSI and for the livestock industry generally. It is important to take a collaborative approach with partners and producers to meet the targets outlined, and this project is a big step in that direction.