Sponsors sought from the food and farming industry to fund research into achieving net-zero in agriculture

Launching in July 2021, a new network named YEN Zero will bring the entire food supply chain, from food and drink manufacturers and supermarkets to fertiliser companies and growers, together to meet the industry’s target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2040. The network is a new initiative by researchers from ADAS, the largest independent environmental and agricultural consultancy in the UK.

Calculating crop carbon footprints

The production of arable crops, including cereals and oilseeds, contributes to farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, primarily through the use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers and cultivation choices. Currently, there is no standard for measuring GHG emissions in crop production, which makes it difficult for those further up the supply chain to quantify the agricultural contribution to their total emissions.

YEN Zero will undertake the analysis and benchmarking of combinable crop carbon footprints on a per-field basis with the near-future aspiration of growing this to carbon accounting on a whole-farm scale.

This benchmarking of crop GHG intensities will enable fair and easy comparison of emissions among farms, fields and crops. From there, it will be possible to see what agronomic practices are driving these emissions and test which mitigation strategies work best on farms. Successful strategies will then be shared with members of the network. Researchers will also work directly with growers and their supporters to help optimise their production with reduced inputs.

The network will create a space where:

  1. Knowledge can be shared around key net-zero topics.
  2. Metrics for calculating cropping carbon footprints can be agreed to create consensus across the industry.
  3. Mitigation strategies can be communicated and tested on farm to find out “what works”.

Discussion workshops

From July 2021, ADAS researchers will host a series of workshops for YEN Zero members to gain and share knowledge regarding key net-zero issues. These workshops will be run as open forums addressing issues such as soil carbon sequestration potential, effective mitigation strategies and methodologies for calculating cropping carbon footprints.

How can you get involved?

A number of organisations are currently engaging in YEN Zero; these include AHDB, Defra, Syngenta, Bayer, Origin Fertilisers, Hutchinsons, NestléAnglian WaterJohn Fergus & Co and Glenmorangie. By becoming sponsors of YEN Zero, organisations can demonstrate that they are taking part in bottom-up research making strides to achieve net zero in agriculture.

“We are really excited to have such strong support from organisations across the supply chain to bring our YEN approach to tackling carbon emissions. By working together, we can develop a shared understanding of the issues, and share ideas and experience of ‘what works’ for the industry’s journey towards net zero.”

Daniel Kindred, Head of Agronomics, ADAS.

The network is still looking for organisations that would like to join. If you would like to find out more about being a sponsor, please contact christina.baxter@adas.co.uk