Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

The Welsh agricultural sector is increasingly under pressure from consumers, environmental groups and policy makers to decrease its environmental impacts, particularly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Welsh Government has set a target for the sector to decrease its GHG emissions by 28% from baseline (1990) levels by the year 20301. To achieve this target, a range of approaches can be implemented, including improving livestock production efficiency, crop and nutrient management, and on-farm fuel and energy efficiency.

85% of land in Wales is agricultural land2, and as agriculture is one of the few sectors in Wales with the capacity to sequester carbon (i.e. where carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored in soils, trees, peat, vegetation and hedgerows), the sector has a huge opportunity to sequester even more carbon, and therefore contribute to the reduction of the country’s carbon footprint and the fight against climate change.

Reducing farm GHG emissions involves taking a fresh look at the whole system, but contrary to popular belief, making reductions in GHG emissions can be achieved while maintaining and often improving farm profitability. This tool has been developed to demonstrate different examples of how a typical Welsh farm could reduce its GHG emissions (demonstrated as carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2e) while also increasing profitability (either through saving money or increasing revenue). To learn more about how you could implement these examples in practice on your own farm, follow the links at the bottom of each example, and this will show you what advice and guidance Farming Connect could offer you to help you in achieving those targets.

  1. Welsh Government. (2019) Agriculture: Sector Emission Pathway. Welsh Government. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. National Assembly for Wales. (2018) The Farming Sector in Wales Research Briefing. Senedd Research. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].

Use our interactive farm to discover ways to increase profitability and reduce GHG emissions. Click on the hotspots to learn more

Farm illustration
Background mountains Background buildings

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Prevent Johne's disease from affecting 10% of a dairy herd

Managing and controlling disease and ensuring animal health is key to increasing and maintaining livestock productivity. Johne’s disease, a contagious and irreversible bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract of cattle and other ruminants, is a source of significant financial loss to many Welsh beef and dairy businesses. As a difficult disease to control, farmers need to engage in herd health planning to determine a herd’s disease status and take appropriate action. Preventing the disease from affecting a herd in the first instance could minimise losses and also reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions the herd produces. Here is an example of how much preventing Johne’s disease from affecting 10% of a typical Welsh dairy herd (201 cows) could reduce the herd’s GHG emissions and how much this could save the farm financially.

Preventing Johne’s disease from affecting 10% of a typical Welsh dairy herd (201 cows) could:

reduce the farm's annual GHG emissions by up to

32,3601 kg CO2e

Save the farm

£5202 annually

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 79,120 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)3.

79,120

Additional benefits

  • Prevention is the most cost-effective way to manage Johne’s disease.
  • Management changes that decrease the risk of Johne’s will also reduce exposure to other diseases (e.g. mastitis) and improve the effectiveness of vaccines for other diseases and the herd’s overall health, performance and efficiency.

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, workshops and events on animal health and welfare, giving farmers the skills and knowledge needed to prevent Johne’s disease from affecting the herd.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve the health and welfare of your dairy herd. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and be inspired by new and innovative ideas from the demonstration network and the Knowledge Exchange Hub.

  1. The CO2e emissions data is calculated based on the average milk yields of Welsh dairy cows and is based on using data from the following report: ADAS (2015) Study to model the impact of controlling endemic cattle diseases and conditions on national cattle productivity, agricultural performances and greenhouse gas emissions. ADAS. [Accessed: 4 November 2019];
  2. The financial information is calculated based on data from the following article: Barratt, A.S. et al. (2018) A framework for estimating society’s economic welfare following the introduction of an animal disease: The case of Johne’s disease. PLoS One, 13(6): 1-26.
  3. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Prevent Johne's disease from affecting 10% of a dairy herd

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Reduce the use of diesel by 10%

All regular farm fuels, like diesel, are derived from fossil fuels and therefore release stored-up carbon to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2) when burnt. A litre of diesel emits roughly 2.6kg of CO2 to the atmosphere. Although the use of diesel on farms comprises only a small percentage of overall farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making the best use of it can help to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint and benefit the business financially. Here is an example of how much reducing a typical Welsh farm’s annual diesel usage of 10,000 litres (75% red diesel; 25% regular diesel) could reduce the farm’s annual GHG emissions, and how much money could be saved.

Reducing the use of diesel on a typical Welsh farm by 10% could:

reduce the farm's annual GHG emissions by up to

2,6201 kg CO2e

Save

£7981 annually

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 6,405 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)2.

6,405

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, workshops and events on business planning, which could help you identify areas where you could reduce your fuel use.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you produce an up to date business plan. Farming Connect provides business support and group support whilst also making the best use of the latest research, developments and new technologies.

  1. Both the CO2e emissions and financial results were calculated based on data from the following guide: Carbon Trust. (2016) Conversion factors: Energy and carbon conversions 2016 update. Carbon Trust. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Reduce the use of diesel by 10%

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Reduce the use of electricity by 10% on a dairy farm

As electricity prices continue to rise, carefully examining how electricity is used on farms, and making adjustments where possible, could save farmers a significant amount on their electricity bills each year. There are many electricity conservation measures which are free, low-cost, or even have cost-effective payback. In addition to making financial savings, reducing the amount of electricity used each year could also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farms into the atmosphere each year. Here is an example of how much reducing the annual electricity usage on a typical Welsh dairy farm (with 201 cows) by 10%, could reduce the farm’s annual GHG emissions by, and how this could also benefit the farm financially.

Reducing a typical Welsh dairy farm's annual electricity usage by 10% could:

reduce the farm's annual GHG emissions by up to

5,5441 kg CO2e

Save

£9901 annually

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 13,555 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)2.

13,555

Additional benefits

  • Although this example is specifically focused on a dairy farm, reducing electricity usage could be implemented on any farm type.
  • In addition to reducing their electricity use, farmers could also explore the possibilities of using the sun, wind, energy crops and farm by-products to produce heat and electricity for use on the farm or as an additional revenue stream.

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, workshops and events on business planning, which could help you identify areas where you could reduce your electricity use.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you produce an up to date business plan. Farming Connect provides business support and group support whilst also making the best use of the latest research, developments and new technologies.

  1. Both the CO2e emissions and financial results were calculated based on data from the following report: DairyCo. (2012) Greenhouse gas emissions on British dairy farms – DairyCo carbon footprinting study: Year one. DairyCo. [Accessed: 4 November 2019]; and using average information for a lowland dairy farm in Wales from the Wales Farm Income Booklet for 2017/18.
  2. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Reduce the use of electricity by 10% on a dairy farm

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Agriculture and the environment

Agriculture in Wales is crucial for the production of food, for supporting rural communities, and for shaping and protecting the environment. Farming businesses can take specific actions to help with solving key environmental concerns, such as clean air, water quality and soil health. Recently, the sector and specifically the red-meat sector, has received criticism for its impacts on the environment, specifically the release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Producing any type of food releases GHG emissions into the atmosphere, along with other environmental impacts, and calculating the impact of the different agricultural sectors in Wales is complex, especially considering the important part that agricultural soils play in mitigating climate change (see scenario: The importance of Agricultural Soils). For example, the production of beef in Western Europe is 2.5 times more carbon-efficient than the global average1. In addition to this, a large portion of Wales’ agricultural land is considered Less Favourable Areas (LFAs), meaning that pressures from some environmental groups to increase arable farming are impractical on the whole, as LFAs are much more suited to pasture and livestock farming.

There are a number of areas where the agricultural sector could improve environmental performance, and this tool emphasises specific examples as to how a typical Welsh farm could reduce its GHG emissions and increase profitability, which can also benefit the environment more generally. In addition to these examples, there are of course others which could be implemented. For example, farmers could improve grassland management, conserve and improve important carbon stocks (e.g. woodlands and peatlands), improve slurry and manure management, and reduce overgrazing, ploughing and the use of pesticides and herbicides. Many of these measures provide important environmental benefits, such as increased biodiversity levels as well as stable and improved soil, water and air quality, in addition to important financial benefits for farmers, and many farmers across Wales are at the forefront of developing and trialling new technologies to reduce these impacts even further.

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • For more information on such work that is undertaken on Farming Connect's Demonstration Network, or to learn about the different services the programme offers to help with improving your own environmental performance, please follow the link below.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve your environmental performance. Discover how Farming Connect could provide you with support, advice and guidance to improve the quality of vital natural resources, such as soil and water.

  1. FAO. (2013) Tackling climate change through livestock. FAO. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Agriculture and the environment Tractor
Background fields

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Reduce cow size from 700kg to 500kg

In addition to increasing the number of calves reared (see scenario: Increase the number of calves reared from 80% to 85%), reducing the weight of the herd is another effective technique to maximise outputs and profitability and also to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint, as each cow would produce lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A study at one of Farming Connect’s demonstration farms, Lan Farm (Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthen), showed that lighter cows (500kg) were much more efficient and cost-effective than heavier cows (700kg)1. Due to their lower maintenance costs of £50 less per cow per year without any loss in productivity, the farm benefited financially. Here is an example of how, with a typical Welsh beef herd of 39 suckler cows, you could reduce its annual carbon footprint and how much money this could save the farm annually by replacing 39 suckler cows (weighing 700kg) with lighter ones (weighing 500kg).

Reducing cow size from 700kg to 500kg for a typical Welsh herd could:

reduce its annual carbon footprint by up to

13,293 kg CO2e2

Save the farm

£1,9501 annually without any loss in productivity

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 32,500 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)3.

32,500

Additional benefits

  • The study on Lan Farm proved that improving the efficiency of the beef finishing system long term gave substantial financial benefits in the medium to long term, but also immediate benefits by freeing up time to focus on other aspects of the herd (e.g. body condition scoring).
  • Reducing cow size could also improve the herd’s fertility (to learn more about the benefits of this, see scenario: Increase the number of calves reared from 80% to 85%).

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, technical advice, events, advice on livestock health and productivity; including activities within the Demonstration Network.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve the efficiency of your herd. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and be inspired by new and innovative ideas from the demonstration network and the Knowledge Exchange Hub.

  1. The financial results were calculated based on data from the following report: Morgan, M., Ovens, H. (2017) Improving suckler cow efficiency by optimising mature cow body weight. Lan Farm, Cynwyl Elfed. Farming Connect. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. CO2e calculations are based on the average carbon footprint of a single cow (liveweight): EBLEX. (2012) Down to earth: The beef and sheep roadmap - phase three. EBLEX. [Accessed: 4 November 2019]; Annual CO2e calculations are based on the average cow age of 7 years.
  3. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Reduce cow size from 700kg to 500kg

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

The importance of agricultural soils

The Welsh agricultural sector is under increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An opportunity exists for the sector to help mitigate climate change, through storing (or sequestering) carbon in soils as soil organic carbon (SOC). Welsh soils hold a significant amount of carbon, and as 85% of land in Wales is agricultural land1, through adopting healthy soil practices which allow more carbon to be stored, farmers can play a key role in providing important agricultural and environmental benefits.

In addition to mitigating climate change and benefiting the environment in general, adopting measures to improve SOC levels (e.g. reducing tillage and avoiding overgrazing and the heavy use of fertilisers) can also directly benefit farmers. For example, higher SOC levels can reduce erosion and increase the soil’s resilience to floods and drought, and improve soil fertility, leading to higher productivity. Studies have also shown that effective management of grasslands, which includes grazing livestock (especially at low intensities), does maximise the land’s efficiency for storing carbon.

Soils store 3.1 times more carbon than the atmosphere2 and nearly 50% more than forests worldwide3

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, technical advice, events, advice on livestock health and productivity; including activities within the Demonstration Network.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve soil health. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and learn more about e-learning courses, Nutrient Management Planning and Master Soils workshops.

  1. National Assembly for Wales. (2018) The Farming Sector in Wales Research Briefing, Senedd Research. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. Oelkers, E. H., Cole, D. R. (2008) Carbon dioxide sequestration: a solution to the global problem. Elements, 4: 305-310.
  3. FAO. (2007) State of the world’s forests 2007. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
The importance of agricultural soils

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Decrease the use of nitrogen (as synthetic fertilisers) by 10%

Optimal soil fertility underpins a successful and profitable farm business, and fertilisers can be added to the soil to supplement essential nutrients needed by plants to grow to their full potential. But, environmental issues can arise when too much synthetic fertiliser is added to the soil. Conducting a Nutrient Management Plan, to determine the soil’s health, can be an important step in calculating how much fertiliser, if any, should be added. To learn more about the importance of maintaining healthy soils, see scenario: The importance of agricultural soils. Here is an example of how much decreasing the use of nitrogen (as synthetic fertilisers) by 10% on a typical Welsh farm (48 ha1) could reduce the farm’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and how much this could save them financially.

Decreasing the use of nitrogen (as synthetic fertilisers) by 10% on a typical Welsh farm (48 ha1) could:

reduce the farm's annual GHG emissions by up to

8762 kg CO2e

Save

£1963 annually

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 2,140 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)4.

2,140

Additional benefits

  • Carefully applying fertilisers can reduce how much nitrogen is lost from agricultural lands into waterways, which can cause serious problems for water quality and aquatic ecosystems, especially for farms that are situated within Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ).
  • Decreasing the use of fertilisers to the required amount can also improve the soil’s health through decreasing its acidity.

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, workshops and events on soil health and nutrient management planning; including activities within the Demonstration Network.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve soil health. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and learn more about e-learning courses, Nutrient Management Planning and Master Soils workshops.

  1. Armstrong, E. (2016) Research Briefing: The Farming Sector in Wales. National Assembly for Wales. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. The CO2e emissions result is calculated using data from the following report: House of Commons. (2018) UK progress on Reducing Nitrate Pollution: Eleventh Report of Session 2017-19. House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee. [Accessed: 4 November 2019];
  3. The financial results were calculated based on data from the following article: Horne, S. (2019) New year opens with nitrogen price cut. Farmers Weekly. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  4. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Decrease the use of nitrogen (as synthetic fertilisers) by 10%
Foreground fields

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Increase the number of calves reared from 80% to 85%

Improving efficiency in the beef finishing system will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and could also prove effective for maximising outputs and profitability. In addition to reducing the weight of the herd (see scenario: Reduce cow size from 700kg to 500kg), farmers can make small and achievable changes to increase the number of calves reared. It has been shown that increasing the number of calves reared from 80% to 85% can reduce a herd’s carbon footprint by 4% in addition to increasing returns by roughly £40.10 per suckler cow1. Here is an example of how much; with a typical Welsh beef herd of 39 suckler cows; you could reduce its carbon footprint and increase revenue by increasing the number of calves reared from 80% to 85%.

Increasing the number of calves reared from 80% to 85% in a typical Welsh herd of 39 suckler cows could:

reduce its carbon footprint by up to

9,3121 kg CO2e

Increase revenue by

£1,5641

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 22,770 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc)2.

22,770

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, technical advice, events, advice on livestock health and productivity; including activities within the Demonstration Network.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve the efficiency of your herd. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and be inspired by new and innovative ideas from the demonstration network and the Knowledge Exchange Hub.

  1. Both the financial and CO2e calculations are based on information from the following report: Bord Bia. (2017) Sustainable Beef & Lamb Assurance Scheme. Bord Bia. [Accessed: 4 November 2019]; CO2e calculations are based on the average carbon footprint of a single cow (liveweight): EBLEX. (2012) Down to earth: The beef and sheep roadmap - phase three. EBLEX. [Accessed: 4 November 2019];
  2. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Increase the number of calves reared from 80% to 85%

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Increase the number of lambs reared from 120% to 140%

Fertility is a significant driver of a flock’s productivity. Improving the number of lambs reared is an effective technique to mitigate farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while also increasing revenue. A study carried out on behalf of Hybu Cig Cymru by IBERS, with support from KN Consulting and Innovis1, demonstrated that increasing the number of lambs reared from 120% to 140% could reduce the flock’s carbon footprint by 9%. Here is an example of how much the carbon footprint of the meat produced from a typical Welsh flock (677 sheep) could be reduced, whilst increasing revenue by increasing the number of lambs reared from 120% to 140%.

Increasing the number of lambs reared in a typical Welsh flock (677 sheep) from 120% to 140% could:

reduce the carbon footprint of the meat produced by up to

35,7701 kg CO2e

Increase the farm's revenue by

£2,1952

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 87,455 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)3.

87,455

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, technical advice, events, advice on livestock health and productivity; including activities within the Demonstration Network.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve the efficiency of your flock. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and be inspired by new and innovative ideas from the demonstration network and the Knowledge Exchange Hub.

  1. The CO2e emissions data is calculated based on information from the following report: Hybu Cig Cymru. (2011) A Sustainable Future - The Welsh Red Meat Roadmap. Hybu Cig Cymru. [Accessed: 4 November 2019]; CO2e calculations are based on the average carbon footprint of a single sheep (deadweight): EBLEX. (2012) Down to earth: The beef and sheep roadmap - phase three. EBLEX. [Accessed: 4 November 2019]; CO2e calculations are based on the average lamb carcase weight of 19.4kg: Hybu Cig Cymru. (2017) UK Monthly Average Carcase Weights 2017. Hybu Cig Cymru. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. The financial results were calculated based on average variable costs and average market price from: The Farm Business Survey in Wales (Wales Farm Income Booklet – 2017/18 Results).
  3. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Increase the number of lambs reared from 120% to 140%

Increasing profitability
Reducing GHG emissions

Eradicate BVD from a beef herd

Poor health within a beef herd increases mortality rates and reduces welfare and productivity. Testing for and eliminating Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) on farms can save significant amounts of money for farming businesses each year, as it affects both cattle herds and other ruminants. In addition to increasing returns, eliminating BVD can also significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by the herd. Here is an example of how much eradicating BVD from a typical Welsh beef herd of 39 cows1 (with full disease impacts) could reduce the herd’s carbon footprint and how much this could save the farm financially.

Eradicating BVD from a typical Welsh herd of 39 cows could:

reduce the farm's carbon footprint by up to

70,2002 kg CO2e

Increase the farm's revenue by

£1,7553 annually

This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e emitted by driving 171,640 miles in an average passenger vehicle (e.g. car, van, pickup truck, etc.)4.

171,640

Additional benefits

  • The cost of eradicating or preventing BVD is significantly outweighed by the benefits. Eradicating BVD lowers the risk of associated diseases or illnesses (e.g. pneumonia), which can also reduce the use and cost of additional medications, specifically antibiotics.
  • Farmers are also likely to see an increase in calves reared and better liveweight gain.

How Farming Connect can help you achieve this

  • Farming businesses can take advantage of Farming Connect’s various training opportunities, technical advice, events, advice on livestock health and productivity; including activities within the Demonstration Network.
  • To access the full range of support and services available, you must be registered with Farming Connect.
  • For further information, please follow the link below.
  • Additional information can be found on the Gwaredu BVD website, a national programme formed to eradicate BVD from the Welsh national herd.

Farming Connect Support

Click on the link below to see how Farming Connect could help you improve the health and welfare of your herd. Discover how Farming Connect could assist in improving skills, accessing group support, and be inspired by new and innovative ideas from the demonstration network and the Knowledge Exchange Hub.

  1. Figures are calculated based on an average carcass weight of 350kg for each cow.
  2. The CO2e emissions data is calculated based on the average carcass weight of the herd and is based on using data from the following report: ADAS (2015) Study to model the impact of controlling endemic cattle diseases and conditions on national cattle productivity, agricultural performances and greenhouse gas emissions. ADAS. [Accessed: 4 November 2019];
  3. The financial information is calculated based on data from the Gwaredu BVD website.
  4. Calculated based on the average fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles. Equivalences were calculated using: EPA (n.d.) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. United States Environmental Protection Agency. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
Eradicate BVD from a beef herd
Foreground trees Foreground trees

Increasing profitability Reducing GHG emissions

The Welsh agricultural sector is increasingly under pressure from consumers, environmental groups and policy makers to decrease its environmental impacts, particularly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Welsh Government has set a target for the sector to decrease its GHG emissions by 28% from baseline (1990) levels by the year 20301. To achieve this target, a range of approaches can be implemented, including improving livestock production efficiency, crop and nutrient management, and on-farm fuel and energy efficiency.

85% of land in Wales is agricultural land2, and as agriculture is one of the few sectors in Wales with the capacity to sequester carbon (i.e. where carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored in soils, trees, peat, vegetation and hedgerows), the sector has a huge opportunity to sequester even more carbon, and therefore contribute to the reduction of the country’s carbon footprint and the fight against climate change.

Reducing farm GHG emissions involves taking a fresh look at the whole system, but contrary to popular belief, making reductions in GHG emissions can be achieved while maintaining and often improving farm profitability. This tool has been developed to demonstrate different examples of how a typical Welsh farm could reduce its GHG emissions (demonstrated as carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2e) while also increasing profitability (either through saving money or increasing revenue). To learn more about how you could implement these examples in practice on your own farm, follow the links at the bottom of each example, and this will show you what advice and guidance Farming Connect could offer you to help you in achieving those targets.

  1. Welsh Government. (2019) Agriculture: Sector Emission Pathway. Welsh Government. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].
  2. National Assembly for Wales. (2018) The Farming Sector in Wales Research Briefing. Senedd Research. [Accessed: 4 November 2019].