The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has developed a service for calculating greenhouse gas emissions. According to its results, farm-specific greenhouse gas emissions rose in the period 2000–2015, due to the fact that farms have become bigger, i.e. their size in hectares and the numbers of animals have increased. When greenhouse gas emissions are compared to production volumes in euros, it turns out that emissions have decreased. Increases in farm size may actually lower the amount of emissions relative to production.
Greenhouse gas emissions per hectare for crop farms have risen slightly, especially in cereal farms in Middle-Finland. For livestock farms, emissions per livestock unit have risen slightly as well, especially in dairy farms in western and northern Finland. Partly this is due to the increase of fodder area.
Emissions relative to production volumes in euros are reduced when production in euro terms increases. Product prices have risen over the long term, and average yields have increased.
Increases in production efficiency make it possible to reduce emissions per kilo of products produced.
But in northern Finland the development has been slower because of the increase of the share of organic soils, says Kristiina Regina, research professor at Luke.
This information can be found on Luke’s EconomyDoctor website under the new Greenhouse Gas Emission calculation service. Its results are based on the results of Luke’s profitability bookkeeping farms. In EconomyDoctor website greenhouse gas emissions can also be viewed alongside the production and financial data of farms.
The service makes emissions more visible
With the new service, emissions can be viewed regionally or by production types, for example. Emissions are presented as carbon dioxide equivalent to make it possible to compare emissions estimates for different gases. The emissions figures obtained from the service cover methane emissions from the digestion and manure of farm animals, nitrous oxide emissions from manure and soil, as well carbon dioxide emissions from liming, cultivated fields and energy use.
In the online service, results can be viewed in detail by emission source. The aim is to also add changes in the carbon stock of mineral soils to the service. Otherwise, the calculation principles are the same as for Finland’s official greenhouse gas emission calculations.
“This new EconomyDoctor service is an easy-to-use tool for monitoring the climate impact of agriculture. In addition, it helps agricultural entrepreneurs to see the share of total emissions from different emissions sources, which has the potential of promoting more climate-friendly production practices”, says Kristiina Regina.
Information in the EconomyDoctor online service
The average results in the greenhouse gas calculation service (www.luke.fi/economydoctor) were calculated enterprise-specifically for around 800 bookkeeping farms from the year 2000 onwards. Due to weighting, the average results reflect the results of Finland’s 35,000 largest agricultural and horticultural enterprises. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.
“As the results have been calculated retrospectively from the year 2000, emissions can now not only be compared annually, but also as long-term development trends”, says Arto Latukka, in charge of the online service and EconomyDoctor at Luke.
“The results are calculated by enterprise. In future, the service will be developed so that agricultural entrepreneurs who are part of Luke’s profitability bookkeeping will receive their own farm-specific results, and they will be able to compare them to results from other farm groups. Our aim is to provide information on an annual basis”, says Latukka.