Tool offers growers test for greenhouse gas

Potato growers can now measure their greenhouse gas emissions thanks to a new initiative by the University of Aberdeen.

The university's Dr John Hillier has developed the farm-scale Cool Farm Tool to help growers monitor all areas of production.

Mark Pettigrew, agricultural sustainability manager at Walkers Crisps owner PepsiCo, revealed at the Potato Council's storage forum last month that the company was trialling the new tool with a handful of its growers - not least because up to 17 per cent of crisps' carbon footprint comes from growing potatoes.

"The first step in reducing emissions at the farm level is to develop the right tools to measure them," said Pettigrew. "This will vary by crop production. The new tool is user-friendly and provides the carbon footprint there and then."

He continued: "Armed with this information, we can work with our growers to make big reductions in carbon emissions."

The need to reduce energy use was reiterated in the event's workshops, with discussions on topics such as inverters and the advantages and disadvantages of storing at ambient temperatures.

"Lowering the carbon footprint of storage is not only good for the environment, it also helps growers maintain their profit margins," said Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research head Adrian Cunnington, who coordinated the storage forum.

The Cool Farm Tool is free to download and use at www.growingforthefuture.com/content/Cool+Farm+Tool.


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