Livestock farming impacts on the environment. Some of these impacts are negative, such as greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) or methane production in the case of bovine herd. In addition, livestock activity can also have positive impacts, such as carbon sequestration. Thus, it is important to know these impacts are and to understand their consequences not only in the big picture but also at a more local level.
Farmers are more and more aware of the effects of livestock activity and some initiatives have been proposed to promote good practices and be more responsible with the environment.
BOVIDCO2 is an environmental assessment tool specialized in Spanish beef cattle farms. By analyzing several indicators, it provides valuable information to the farmer about the status of its farm and, it is the basis for stablishing a future improvement plan.
Remarkably, BOVIDCO2 does not only consider environmental indicators. Sustainability is a complex concept which includes environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and economic sustainability. Therefore, this tool considers essential factors for the livestock activity to be feasible. In addition, this tool allows the farmers to position against a series of references, simulate the effect of new practices, and evaluate their positive contributions such as carbon sequestration or food autonomy.
BOVIDCO2 has been developed in Spain and therefore, it is very adapted to the country, and it considers many national particularities of beef cattle farms. Importantly, this tool was developed and used in the framework of the LIFE Beef Carbon project, and both the methodology and the calculations are harmonized with the other tools used in the study, CAP2er and CARBON navigator.
BOVIDCO2 is an environmental assessment tool for technical support to beef farms. It allows the farmer to evaluate and compare the environmental productivity and sustainability and, also to react in order to progress.
This tool allows the evaluation and a follow-up in 3 stages:
1. DIAGNOSTICS: sample collection allows to evaluate the productivity of the farm and its position compared to a reference group.
There are 2 assessment levels:
- Level 1: “Simple analysis”: observatory and awareness
- Level 2: “Deep analysis”: evaluation, databases and simulation
2. ACTION PLAN: the level 2 diagnostics allows to establish the relationship between environmental indicators and regular practices. Then, the advisor elaborates a carbon plan together with the farmer considering animal management and handling, animal feed, reproductive parameters, and fertilization among others.
3. MONITORIZATION: BOVIDCO2 also allows to simulate action plans and establish a follow-up.
Basically, BOVIDCO2 is a multicriteria analysis for evaluating all the components of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. It allows to determine:
- Positive contributions of the farm:
- Carbon sequestration: kg of carbon per year
- Biodiversity maintenance: ha equivalence of biodiversity
- Food productivity: number of people fed/year
- Environmental impacts:
- Climate change: Kg of CH4, Kg N2O, Kg CO2 – Kg. CO2 equivalents
- Water quality (eutrophication): Kg N and P lost – Kg PO4 equivalents
- Air quality (acidification): Kg NH3 volatilized – Kg SO2 equivalents
- Depletion of fossil sources: direct and indirect energy consumption – MJ
- Economic and labor productivity:
- Economic performance: production cost/gross production
- Labor conditions: quantity and quality of work
All the indicators might also suggest productivity deficiencies. The action plan is elaborated by experts for each case based on the type of farm (suckler to weaning farm, fattening farm, or mixed farm) and promote good practices for improving the indicators. Those changes might also have an impact in the productivity and efficiency of the farm.
We attach three brochures created for the LIFE Beef Carbon project, one per productive system, in which data were calculated with the tool BOVID CO2.
In addition, we attach links to videos recorded in some of the farms of the same project to understand the value of BOVIDCO2 in improving farm management.
You can learn more in www.asoprovac.com