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    Professor's work helping cut cattle farming emmissions featured on BBC's Countryfile

    Posted 2 July

    鈥淏eef and sheep farmers are under huge public, governmental and retailer pressure to reduce their environmental impacts, but every farm will have a unique set of challenges and therefore different solutions that they can implement. Through learning more about what the very best - and worst - 聽farms are doing, we can help find solutions that every farm can implement, cutting impacts from the entire sector.鈥

    Professor Jude Capper and Countryfile's Adam Henson

    Work to reduce emissions from cattle farming has been highlighted on BBC One’s Countryfile – with some help from a Harper Adams Professor.

    Professor Jude Capper, the ABP Chair of Sustainable Sheep and Beef Production, spoke with presenter Adam Henson at Bromstead Farm near Newport about the work ABP is doing to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    The PRISM Programme is a £1.5 million sustainability project which is supporting 350 of ABP’s farmer suppliers.

    Running since 2022, it shares knowledge across the UK beef and sheep sectors, and aims to help participants improve their carbon footprint and sustainability across the whole farm, but with specific reference to beef and sheep systems.

    Professor Capper, and fellow academics at Harper Adams, are examining data from participating farms to identify ways in which farmers can improve their carbon footprint while maintaining profitability, as well as sector and region-specific mechanisms and best practices that can be adopted on-farm to improve sustainability.

    On Sunday’s episode of Countryfile, she explained to Adam more about the PRISM scheme and the impact that it has had so far.

    She told him: “So we started it two years ago now – PRISM stands for the Programme for Improving the Sustainability of Red Meat – and we’re looking at everything that has an impact on that animal’s efficiency.

    “So whether it’s breeding, housing, pasture species, types of management, health, productivity – everything that goes into animals’ performance.”

    Explaining how the lessons being learnt at farms such as Bromstead will be applied across the country and the opportunities to cut carbon footprints, Professor Capper added: “It depends on the system. In an intensive system, for example, housed cattle, can often have a lower carbon footprint– but they may also contribute less to carbon sequestration, i.e. taking carbon out of the air and putting it into the ground.

    “So there’s a balance for every system – extensive can be brilliant, intensive can be brilliant – we need all systems – it is doing everything better on every single farm.

    “We can do great things to improve.

    “We have some farmers, for example, who have a carbon footprint about a fifth of other farmers – so twenty per cent, let’s say – massively low, doing some really, really good things. We have actually found some farmers whose admissions are as low as other products, say pork or chicken for example, which is incredibly low.

    “We want to understand what those farmers are doing on-farm – so that every farmer can improve.”

    Speaking afterwards, she said: “It was brilliant to have the chance to talk about the ABP PRISM 2030 programme with Adam Henson and the Countryfile crew.

    “Beef and sheep farmers are under huge public, governmental and retailer pressure to reduce their environmental impacts, but every farm will have a unique set of challenges and therefore different solutions that they can implement. Through learning more about what the very best - and worst -  farms are doing, we can help find solutions that every farm can implement, cutting impacts from the entire sector.”

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