In a new report, Achieving Net Zero: Farming’s 2040 Goal, the NFU sets out three pillars of activity that will help the industry to reach its ambitious goal.
- Improving farming’s productive efficiency
- Improving land management and changing land use to capture more carbon
- Boosting renewable energy and the wider bio-economy
The first pillar is where MI:RNA’s revolutionary new testing technology will play an invaluable role. Cattle disease can increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 24% per unit of milk or up to 113% per beef carcass [3, 4]. Accurate and early detection and diagnosis of widespread chronic conditions such as Johne’s disease would greatly reduce the excess GHG emissions produced by a herd, in addition to improving herd health and increasing productivity.
Improving farming’s productive efficiency, MI:RNA’s pioneering diagnostic testing plays an invaluable role in accurate and early diagnosis of widespread chronic conditions such as Johne’s disease in cattle to reduce GHG emissions. Emissions from UK farms presently amount to about 10% of all UK emissions.
Ruminant livestock produce methane during their digestion. Micro-organisms in the rumen degrade carbon from feeds in the absence of oxygen, producing methane gas. This gas is subsequently emitted to air by eructation (burps). Emissions are affected by diet, health, and livestock management.
Emissions from UK farms, in contrast to the rest of the economy, are predominated by methane. Only 10% of emissions are CO2 . Around 40% are nitrous oxide (N2O) and 50% is methane (CH4). Methane is considered to have 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, whereas nitrous oxide is considered to have 298 times the global warming potential .
Given the significance of the UK farming sector’s carbon footprint, the NFU has set the ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040.
"MI:RNA’s pioneering diagnostic technology has a crucial role to play in helping the farming industry achieve net zero, and maintain the health of livestock in the process. We welcome the NFU’s ambitious goal for net zero by 2040 and look forward to contributing to a successful outcome."
Dr Eve Hanks, MI:RNA Founder and CEO
MI:RNA is a net-zero company committed to promoting a sustainable approach to livestock farming in order to preserve the world and its resources for future generations.
Founded in 2019, based at Pentland Science Park in Midlothian Science Zone, MI:RNA Ltd. is a veterinary diagnostics company specialising in the development of testing technology for veterinary disease.
1) NFU (2019) ‘Achieving Net Zero: Farming’s 2040 Goal’. https://www.nfuonline.com/archive?treeid=137544
2) CIEL (2022) ‘Net Zero & livestock: How farmers can reduce emmsions’. https://www.cielivestock.co.uk/expertise/net-zero-carbon-uk-livestock/report-october-2020/
3) Grossi, G. , Goglio, P. , Vitali, A. , and Williams, A. G. 2019. Livestock and climate change: impact of livestock on climate and mitigation strategies, Anim. Front. 9:69–76, doi:10.1093/af/vfy034
4) Williams , A. , J. Chatterton , G. Hateley , A. Curwen , and J. Elliott . 2015 . A systems-life cycle assessment approach to modelling the impact of improvements in cattle health on greenhouse gas emissions . Adv. Anim. Biosci . 6 :29 –31 doi:10.1017/S2040470014000478