The cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from any human activity are commonly referred to as the carbon footprint. A report issued by the Joint Research Center (Steinfeild, Gerber, Wassenaar, Castel, & de Haan, 2006) defines the carbon footprint as a measure of the exclusive total amount of CO2 emissions that are directly or indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product. A carbon footprint involves not only CO2 emissions, but also includes N2O and CH4 emissions, which are expressed in CO2 equivalents (CO2e). A CO2e is the concentration of CO2 that would give the same levels of radiative properties (the change in net irradiance at atmospheric boundaries between different layers of the atmosphere), as a given amount of CO2 (World Research Institute, 2007). The CO2e for a given substance is calculated over a specified time period and must be stated whenever a global warming potential (GWP) is stated. The GWP is a measure of how much a given mass of GHG is estimated to contribute to global warming. For example, GWP over 100 years for N2O is 298. This means that the emission of 1 million tons of N2O is equivalent to 298 million tons of CO2 over 100 years. The GWP over 100 years for CH4 is 25 (International Panel on Climate Change, 2006).
The Poultry Carbon Footprint Calculation Tool
The Poultry Carbon Footprint Calculation Tool was developed and designed specifically for poultry production farms. The tool can be used to estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from pullet, breeder, and broiler grow-out farms. The GHGs that are assessed are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane—the gases of major concern in agriculture. The user-friendly calculation tool is an Excel spreadsheet into which the user will enter farm data to calculate a poultry production farm’s annual carbon footprint.
This publication provides an overview for poultry producers on how to use the tool and gives recommended applications. The tool can be downloaded from
Status and Revision History
Published on Jun 25, 2015
Published with Full Review on Jun 15, 2023