Carbon footprinting and managing emissions

Vegetable carbon calculator

Posted by : Gordon Rogers | Category : Carbon footprinting and managing emissions | Comments : 0 Comments


The Vegetable Carbon Calculator is a free tool that allows you to develop a carbon footprint of a vegetable farming operation. The tool was developed as part of a HAL project (VG09187), funded by Australian Vegetable Growers through HAL with support from Houston’s Farms (Tasmania) and Woolworths.

The tool provides a framework and baseline data that growers can use to develop a carbon footprint for their own farming operation.

The Vegetable Carbon Calculator website also provides training materials on how to use the tool and some background information on concepts surrounding carbon and carbon footprinting.

How the tool works

The tool allows growers to develop their own carbon footprint and requires that data be entered under the following categories:

  1. Energy
  2. Waste
  3. Fertiliser
  4. Refrigerants used
  5. Land use

Once this data is entered into the tool, it calculates a carbon footprint, which can then be exported from the calculator.

Assumptions, methodology and estimation of direct on-farm emissions

The methodology employed by the tool and assumptions and emissions factors are given in a protocol document, which is available for downloading on the Vegetable Carbon Calculator.

There is very little data available on direct greenhouse gas emissions for vegetable crops in Australia. The research has not yet been completed to determine the actual emissions of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide from Australian soils under local conditions and for various crop management practices. The carbon vegetable tool developers have therefore used best-available estimates of these emissions from overseas research and data from other crops.

The Vegetable Carbon Calculator website has two components:

  1. The vegetable carbon calculator.
  2. Vegetable industry carbon education materials.

The education materials were funded by Woolworths and HAL. The calculator was based on the Houston’s Farms Footprinting Tool, which was made available to the project development team.

How to use the tool

In order to estimate your on-farm carbon footprint, you will need to have the following information available for the year for which you want to calculate the carbon footprint of your farm:

  • Electricity bills/meter records for the reporting year.
  • Fuel bills/receipts for the reporting year (i.e. natural gas, petrol, diesel, LPG, wood).
  • Records of waste processed on-farm for the reporting year.
  • Records of fertiliser usage for the reporting year.
  • Service documents for on-site cold rooms or industrial freezers for the reporting year.

Output from the tool

The tool can provide four specific outputs:

  • Farm footprint for your farm for the years for which data was entered
  • Compare various crops by years
  • Calculate emissions by the different crops grown
  • Compare the emissions per crop with other users of the tool for the year in question.

veg carbon footprint output veg carbon footprint output2