The French Livestock Institute (Institut de l'Elevage - Idele), in collaboration with its partners, has developed the CAP'2ER®, a tool to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy and beef production.

CAP'2ER® is a multi-criteria calculator to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a farm and to identify options for mitigation, in accordance with the FAO LEAP guidelines on feed and ruminants supply chains, as certified by an independent body. CAP'2ER® adopts a multi-criteria life cycle approach covering climate change, fossil energy use, nitrogen balance and emissions of ammonia. It accounts for benefits such as food production, carbon sequestration and biodiversity. Optional information also includes production costs and working conditions.

More specifically, there are two levels to assess the sustainability of a farm: level 1, with 30 parameters, for a simplified analysis to develop an observatory and to highlight the link between practices and environment; and level 2, with 150 parameters, for a comparative analysis to simulate mitigation practices and to build farm-specific carbon action plans that are feasible from a technical, environmental and socio-economic perspective.

CAP'2ER® is able to measure and monitor emissions reductions and carbon sequestration at both farm and country level. The data collected are included in a national database, which acts as an observatory by tracking, amongst others, application, and project impact.

To date, 1,500 technicians and advisers have been trained on CAP'2ER®, assisting with the assessment of 20,000 cattle farms and the set up of their carbon mitigation action plans. In 2022, 1,500 farmers have embraced carbon footprint improvement and applied for carbon certification.

The CAP’2ER® diagnosis allows farmers:

  • To know their carbon footprint and to situate their operation in relation to similar production systems.
  • To reduce their environmental impact and engage in the Low Carbon transition.
  • To communicate on its commitments and its profession.
  • To improve its technical and economic performance
  • Meet national objectives and societal expectations

CAP’2ER® makes it possible to measure energy consumption, GHG emissions and the nitrogen balance with potential losses to air and water. The carbon balance makes it possible to assess the quantity of GHGs emitted and stored over a year per unit of production (milk or meat). The most emitting positions are identified to be able to target the actions to be implemented (herd management and feeding, crop fertilization, energy consumption, etc.). Below is an overview of the results of a CAP’2ER® diagnosis

In parallel and deeply interconnected with CAP'2ER®, the France Carbon Agri Association was recently set up with the aim to incentivize farmers in taking climate action and adopting best practices in cattle management. The climate scan is a company-specific screening tool that makes clear where the climate impact of the company lies. A climate scan per sector is developed based on a life cycle analysis (LCA) with which the climate consultant visits the farmer to collect the necessary data. Subsequently, the consultant visits the farmer to propose and discuss measures with calculated scenarios. At the same time, a cost-benefit analysis is made to estimate the economic feasibility. 

Description of the innovation



Time needed


Complete by


Tier 2 and 3 (IPCC 2019)




 Taken into account by carbon crediting scheme or regional project


What makes this tool different in comparison with other tools?

This tool permit to :

  • Calculate CH4 emission according to the exact feeding plan implemented and take into account lipid
  • calculate other environmental impacts such as biodiversity, risk of nutrients leaching, carbon sequestration…
  • permit to run detailed simulations

Input parameters are based on Tier 3 (IPCC 2019).


N excretion

Default values per animal category adjusted based on the time housing or grazing (Nitrates Directive; European Council, 1991)

N leaching

N leaching = N inputs - N outputs + symbiotic fixation + atmospheric deposition - N storage - N volatilization
N inputs = Mineral fertilizers + Concentrate feeds
 N outputs = live weight

Methane (CH4) from enteric fermentation

g CH4/kg digestible organic matter = 45.2 – 6.66 × NI + 0.75 × NI2 + 19.65 × PCO – 35 × PCO2 - 2.69 × NI × PCO
where NI = feeding level expressed as a % of BW. PCO = proportion of concentrate feeds in the DM diet.
(Tier 3; Sauvant et al., 2013)

CH4 from solid manure

Emissions factors for animal categories calculated with IPCC (2006) Tier 2 equation (Non-digestible organic matter × 0.67 × B0 × MCF). 

CH4 from manure spreading

Not taken into account

CH4 from manure deposited by grazing cattle

Emissions factors for animal categories calculated with IPCC (2006) Tier 2 equation (Non-digestible organic matter * 0.67 × B0 × MCF).

Nitrous oxide (N2O) from stored manure
* EF dependant on the manure storage system and nitrogen excretion

N2O-N emission calculated as function of manure N stored.
Solid storage: 0.5% of N excreted.
Slurry with natural crust cover: 0.5% of N excreted. Pit storage below animal confinements: 0.2% of N excreted
Deep bedding with no mixing: 1% of N (Tier 2; IPCC, 2006)

N2O from manure spreading

1% of N spread whatever the manure type (solid manure or slurry) emitted as N2O. (Tier 1; IPCC, 2006)

N2O from mineral fertilizer spreading

1% of N mineral spread whatever the fertilizer type emitted as N2O-N 

(Tier 1; IPCC, 2006)

N2O from manure deposited by grazing cattle

EF urine = 0.015 kg N2O-N /kg N
EF faeces = 0.004 kg N2O-N /kg N
(EF urine × N urine + EF faeces × N faeces) × 1.5 (Oenema et al., 1997).

N2O crop residues

Not considered

N2O temporary grassland ploughing

N released calculated according to sequestration/releasing of C: C/N = 10 1% of N released (Tier 1 IPCC, 2006).

N2O from N that is re-deposited after leaching

0.75% of N leached from N inputs emitted as N2O -N. (Tier 1; IPCC, 2006)

N2O from N that is re-deposited after volatilization

1% of ammonia (NH3) volatilized from N inputs. (Source: Tier 1 IPCC, 2006)
N volatilized is calculated with NH3 and nitrogen oxide (NO) emissions from mineral N and manure spreading:
10% of NH3 and NO emitted from N mineral spreading are re-deposited
20% of NH3 and NO emitted from manure spreading are re-deposited


CO2 equivalent (CO2e) fuel combustion

3.25 kg CO2e/ litre of fuel

CO2 limestone application


CO2e from electricity

0.055 kg CO2e/ kW

CO2e from making mineral fertilizer and lime 

Mineral N is only considered: 5.36 kg CO2e/kg N

CO2e from producing compound concentrate feedstuffs

0.76 kg CO2e/kg DM and 1.579 kg CO2e/kg DM (soy cake).
Purchased forages not considered

Carbon sequestration

Permanent grassland: 570 kg C/ha.
Hays: 125 kg C/100 ml.
Mountain pasture: 250 kg C/ha.
Temporary grassland: 80 kg C/ha
Other crops not in rotation: 160 kg C/ha

Impact on farm performance

Socio-economic resilience: Within the project, the tool is free to use (via an advisor). In time, Klimrek will be incorporated into Kratos and farmers will be able to enter into a Klimrek project through their Kratos portfolio.
Animal health and welfare: AHW is not included in this tool
Production efficiency and meat quality: PE&MQ are included in this tool with various productivity indicators such as lvwg/livestock unit; consumption of concentrate / kg of lvwg…
Environmental sustainability: Together with the consultant, tailor-made climate measures are proposed. Biodiversity, nutrients leaching, nutrition potential and other indicators are also calculated.