The project is independently led by John Gilliland, alongside 7 commercial farms and industry partners including AgriSearch, Devenish, Queens University Belfast and Birnie Consultancy.

ARCZero will focus on producing an accurate, individual, whole farm carbon balance sheets – currently not available. It will precisely measure on-farm carbon stocks (soils, trees and hedges) combining them with the results of a whole farm Lifecycle Analysis calculator. This will allow an accurate creation of a base-line greenhouse gas position.

By assessing future management practices and identifying the most impactful behaviours the project intends to inform how farms across Northern Ireland could accelerate the move towards net carbon zero farming.

Each of the seven commercial farms in the project consortium will:

  • Supply output and input data for use in SRUC’s AgReCalc calculator.

  • Undertake GPS soil analyses covering pH, P & K (7.5cm depth) as well as carbon content and bulk density (30cm depth)

  • Be subject to LiDAR survey and analysis to identify above ground Carbon storage and routes of overland flow

The AgReCalc analysis will be undertaken at both the beginning and the end of the project, to see if positive change has taken place and if so, by how much. These Lifecycle Analysis results will then be added to the carbon stock results to create a Net farm carbon balance for each farm

 

Project Aims

Actual individual net farm GHG footprints are currently unknown as most current methodologies calculate gross GHG footprints for farm enterprises and do not accurately assess on farm carbon stocks and their potential for annual carbon sequestration.

 

In addition, current Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) calculators focus mainly on enterprises, and not on a whole farm basis. The exceptions, such as SRUC’s AgReCalc, better reflect inter-enterprise transfers and allocations of overheads, allowing public claims to be made on any positive change that occurs.

 

ARCZero will focus on producing an accurate, individual, whole farm carbon balance sheet, through the precise measurement of the on-farm carbon stocks within soils and in trees and hedges. It will then combine the stocks with the results of the farm having been put through a whole business LCA calculator, to allow an accurate creation of a base-line GHG position. In doing so, this project intends to inform how farms across Northern Ireland could accelerate the move towards net carbon zero.

Having assessed the current carbon stocks and annual greenhouse gas position, future management practices will be examined and prioritised to identify the most impactful positive behaviour-change needed, while simultaneously making each business more economically resilient. The seven farm businesses' experience will be communicated to help inform other farms across Northern Ireland on how they might accelerate their move towards net zero carbon farming.

For more information please click HERE to visit the ARCZero website.