The Pork Checkoff has unveiled a new software tool for pork producers. Edgerton, Minnesota pork producer Randy Spronk was one of the first to test the Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator and says it is a user-friendly tool:
“Realistically from a National Pork Board standpoint, it’s been a multi-year effort in order to help producers identify where their energy usage is. Where their hot spots are, and you know, your energy use is not only electric but it’s also carbon and that can come from the feed. So, you take the inputs of your building size, your insulation values your rations, your mirror handling methodologies, and plug it into the Carbon Foot print calculator and you can see right away where it’s most beneficial to spend your time. You can see differentials between feed ingredients, you can see differentials… you know, I typically empty my manure pits in the fall, in October. I happened to say wwhat would happen if I did a spring and a fall, I mean if you do a spring and a fall will you reduce your methane and nitrous oxides emissions? And so there’s some of those things you can learn just playing with the Carbon Footprint Calculator.”
Spronk serves on the Pork Checkoff environmental committee and says the carbon footprint calculator increases efficiency on the farm….“You know that’s the original intent. we all know that energy costs…and the intent was how can we help identify where they can reduce their cost of production. Takes into account you know, your lighting source. So, you could put in incandescent bulbs versus fluorescent bulbs, even just changing half of them out what that would do for your energy use. It’s on a producers own PC, it’s his data, he can safe what he does, he can do one barn and do four, five, six different scenarios and kind of compare back and forth, and just kind of indentify well, where is that energy use, and where is that carbon use.”
Spronk says this tool reflects the pork industry’s ongoing focus on being socially and environmentally conscious. Pork producers can order a free copy of the Carbon Footprint Calculator at www.pork.org.