OSI and Devenish collaborate to hit carbon neutral farming target by 2030

13th October 2020

OSI and Devenish collaborate to hit carbon neutral farming target by 2030

A joint initiative between food group OSI Europe and agri nutrition specialists Devenish is setting out to deliver a carbon neutral farming system by 2030.

Devenish has been measuring the true environmental impact of livestock production at its Global Innovation Centre located in Co. Meath, Ireland, for the past six years and OSI Europe is undertaking the same research on their partner's sustainability trial farm, Brongain. The two companies are confident their combined knowledge and expertise will help them reach their aspirational carbon neutral target.

Kevin Cahill, Managing Director of OSI Europe explains, "Collaborating with Devenish on this project provides benefits for both businesses, and for this we are very grateful to the Pickstock family for volunteering Brongain as our trial farm.

"The work will allow us to collect, analyse and compare a larger pool of data from different livestock systems. We can then combine resources to interpret this data and identify the best way to tackle livestock emissions.

"The longer-term vision is for OSI Europe and Devenish to share the findings of the research with livestock farms across the UK, so that producers can identify the true environmental impact of their farm and how they can work towards helping the industry become carbon neutral, while allowing the public to continue to enjoy high quality, nutrient rich meat as part of their diet," he adds.

Owen Brennan, Executive Chair of Devenish, said, "We are pleased to partner with OSI and the Pickstock family on this unique research project that will enable us to further explore ways to make food production more sustainable. Using LiDAR technology, we are measuring carbon storage and sequestration by livestock grazing diverse swards, as well as above ground biomass in the form of trees and hedgerows.

"It is vital that we can measure the sequestration potential of the landscape which livestock live in against the carbon emissions they produce. The more efficiently we can produce animal protein, and the more carbon we can store in the landscape, the closer we get to carbon neutrality.

"The project also considers the role of nitrogen fixing plants such as legumes and herbal leys. This is key, as these plants reduce the requirement for grassland to receive nitrogen fertiliser applications, which have emissions associated with them.

"The research also utilises the usual parameters measured in current carbon footprint models to include stock numbers, feed consumption, finishing ages and fertiliser use."

Mr Brennan notes that despite the emissions associated with livestock production, the wider benefits of grass-based systems to the environment can't be overlooked: "Grass-based systems allow for healthier soils with lots of earthworms and little disturbance to the land. This means the soil is often richer in carbon and organic nitrogen, and many biodiversity benefits flow from this.

"Agriculture is one of only two industries globally that both produces emissions and stores carbon. The other is forestry. Hence why it's important that we showcase the true, net environmental impact of this industry," he concludes.

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