Washington: In the first major study
of the carbon footprint of lamb, scientists have found that 80
per cent of that footprint is generated on the farm.
According to the findings, each 100 gram portion
of New Zealand lamb exported to Europe creates 1.9 kilogramme
of CO2 equivalents and that 80 per cent of that footprint is
generated on the farm.
Productivity gains in New Zealand`s farming
sector mean more lamb meat is produced today than in 1990 but
with a 43 per cent smaller national flock. This has led to an
estimated 22 per cent reduction in lamb`s carbon footprint
over that time period, say the scientists.
The aim of the study was to create a carbon footprint
benchmark for New Zealand lamb and identify areas that can be
targeted to further reduce emissions resulting from production
and transportation of lamb, they say.
Dr Stewart Ledgard, Principal Scientist at Agresearch,
lead author of the report, said: "This represents the first
detailed study of the carbon footprint of a New Zealand meat
product that covers the whole life cycle from extraction of
raw materials to farm production, processing, transportation,
consumption and waste stages to the UK as one of our markets.
"Of the total carbon footprint of 1.9 kg
CO2-equivalent/kg meat, 80 per cent was from the farm stage,
with 3 per cent from processing, 5 percent from transportation
and 12 per cent from the retail and consumer stages.
"The study showed the farm stage was a significant
part of the total carbon footprint and most of that was from
natural processes associated with sheep utilising pasture as a
feed source eg, 57 per cent of the total footprint was from
methane produced during digestion of pasture.
"Our analyses showed that this component of the
carbon footprint has decreased by over 20 per cent during the
last 15 years as farmers have made large gains in efficiency
of converting pasture to meat."