Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator is now available for pork producers

Using a recently released tool from the National Pork Board, pork producers can now calculate their farm’s carbon footprint.

During the June 2011 World Pork Expo the National Pork Board released the Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator. The calculator was developed to provide swine producers a user friendly tool that estimates the amount of greenhouse gases released from their production site. While there isn’t a right or wrong answer contained in the report, the Pork Board suggests the calculator be used to establish a current benchmark level of greenhouse gases emissions. Once a farm’s benchmark is established additional calculations can then be used to estimate possible reductions in greenhouse gases as a result of improved management and production practices. Reductions in greenhouse gases are possible through improved feed efficiency, reduced energy needs and changes in manure handling practices.

The main greenhouse gases associated with pork production include carbon dioxide, CO2, methane, CH4, and nitrous oxide, N2O. Methane has 24 times and nitrous oxide has 298 times the global warming potential of CO2. The carbon footprint calculator expresses CH4 and N2O global warming potential on an equivalent to carbon dioxide (CO2e) basis. The output reports greenhouse emissions as kg of CO2e per year, per pig and per kg of pig raised.

Inputs into the calculator require knowledge of:

  •  The building dimensions, the insulation R value in both the side walls and ceiling and type of manure storage structure.
  • Diets fed to the pigs in the barn including the number of phases and the percent of each ingredient contained in each ration. Contract growers will need to collect this information from the farm they contract with.
  • Basic manure handling practices such as type of manure storage, months when manure is hauled, size of loads and average distance to the fields used for manure applications.
  • The total wattage of the lights used in the barn.
  • The number of fans in the barn, their CFM (cubic feet per minute) and wattage. The wattage will be on the manufacturer’s label found on the side of the fan motor and the CFM will either be on the fan housing or contained the manufacture's information delivered with the fan.
  •  Estimate of annual fuel usage, including fuel used for manure removal but not feed delivery, associated with the barn.
  • An estimate of the annual water usage. Tables for estimating annual water use can be found at:

The carbon foot print calculator is easy to use. Once all the information is gathered, entering it into the program requires less than five minutes. The free software is available from the National Pork Board. It requires either Windows XP, Vista, 2000 or Windows 7. Contact the Pork Boards service center at for more information.

The Live Swine Carbon Footprint Calculator was written by Dr. Rick Ulrich and Dr. Greg Thoma from the University of Arkansas, Dept. of Chemical Engineering

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