To help you consider the impact of alternative cropping systems, we’ve put together a simple spreadsheet calculator. You are welcome to download it here> LandWISE Cropping Impact Estimator.
The calculator flows from our work on precision farming and the benefits achievable from controlled traffic farming or permanent bed cropping systems. Up to threee scenarios can be compared. The calculator is intended to help you consider the savings possible from alternative cropping system strategies, especially changing cultivation practices.
Farmers we work with are saving as much as half their fuel, machinery and labour costs. By not driving on the “garden”, and not ripping up the “tracks”, their cultivation is drastically reduced – the heavy work is just not needed.
The calculator is prefilled with some suggested values for fuel and labour use of different farming operations. You can choose your own operations and use your own fuel use values. Just put in the best numbers you can! It determines CO2 emissions from fuel consumption using a standard CO2-e value for New Zealand diesel.
We put in a sheet to calculate carbon equivalent emissions from fertilisers. We’ve suggested some New Zealand CO2-e values for main fertilisers. These are based on a paper by Stewart Ledgard and colleagues, “Life Cycle Assessment of Local and Imported Fertilisers Used on New Zealand Farms”.
Changing your cultivation might not indicate a change in fertiliser use. But when farmers move to GPS guidance, and especially to controlled traffic or permanent beds, they save about 10% or so of inputs such as fertiliser and agrichemicals. This is achieved just by avoiding overlaps.
A summary sheet draws the results from your scenarios together and shows how much fuel, fertiliser, labour and money can be saved by changing your practices.
Download the calculator, have a play, and post a comment!