NorFor & Climate

NorFor’s mission is to become the gold standard in Sustainable animal nutrition. Towards this mission, at NorFor we work to help farms to maximize profits while increasing the emphasis on sustainability to address today’s climate challenges. The Carbon Footprint Calculator makes NorFor a step closer to this goal. The NorFor model now makes possible the optimization of the ration in terms of nutrition, health, economy, and environment.

The Carbon Footprint Calculator

The NorFor Feed Ration Optimizer now also present the impact of greenhouse gas emissions for its users. It allows users to evaluate the emissions caused by a specific diet, and to be able to formulate diets with lower emissions. The carbon footprint parameters can now be found in a section called Climate. The list contains detailed parameters on gas emissions from animals, feed production, soil, and manure handling.


Feed carbon footprint: The NorFor Feed Table now includes parameters for Carbon Footprint (CFP) of forages and raw materials. CFP is expressed as CO2-equivalents per kg of dry matter and are based on Mogensen et al. (2018). CFP from feed includes emissions from its production, until it is ready for animal consumption, meaning cultivation, processing and transport are considered. For international traded feeds, such as sunflower meal or soybean meal, transportation from origin of production to the farmer is included in the calculation. If more than one feed commodity is refined from the harvested crop, CFP is divided, by economic allocation, between the main and by-product(s). For example, CFP from rapeseed is divided into the oil product and the cake/meal. Table 1 below shows some feedstuff with CFP from NorFor Feed Table.


Table 1: Carbon footprint (CO2 equivalents/kg DM) and nutritional values from feedstuffs from Norfor Feedstuff Table.

Methane: NorFor uses Nielsen et al. equation to calculate methane emissions from animals. In 2020, NorFor have made a minor change in the calculations regarding the amount of methane emissions by giving fatty acids a slightly stronger influence in this update. An increase of fatty acids in the ration decreases the methane emission whereas total dry matter and NDF level increases the methane emission. Later this year we intend on revising the methane equations in NorFor based on recent research results.

Nitrous oxide: Direct N20 emissions from fertilizers, indirect N20 emissions from NH3 emissions and NO3 leaching are also included in the CFP.

Land requirement: new parameter on land requirement as square meters per kg dry matter. It can be used when optimizing rations and it is available as an output from the feed control in the NorFor Feed Ration Optimizer.

Manure handling: Greenhouse gas emissions from storage of manure in slurry tanks or deep bedding and from spreading manure are now included in the NorFor Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Manure production: The NorFor model now includes a calculation on the amount of manure produced per cow per day and the content of the manure regarding ash, crude protein, crude fat, starch and rest-carbohydrates expressed in grams per day and grams per kg dry matter. These new parameters are found under parameter section NPK-excreted. Please note that the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the manure is also used in the Carbon Footprint Calculator of manure emissions in the NorFor model and hence have an influence on greenhouse gas emissions from the manure.



Mogensen, L., Knudsen, M.T., Dorca-Preda, T., Nielsen, N.I., Kristensen, I.S., & Kristensen, T. 2018. Bæredygtighedsparametre for konventionelle fodermidler til kvæg. DCA-rapport nr. 116. Aarhus University, 129 pp.

Nielsen N. I., H. Volden, M. Åkerlind, M. Brask, A. L. F. Hellwing, T. Storlien & J. Bertilsson. 2013. A prediction equation for enteric methane emission from dairy cows for use in NorFor, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science, 63:3, 126-130, DOI: 10.1080/09064702.2013.851275

Nielsen, N.I. 2019. Estimating and optimizing carbon footprint of milk in NorFor. In Proceedings Nordic feed Science Conference. SLU, Uppsala, Sweden, p. 57-61.

What's next?

In NorFor we work continously in the following items to improve the Climate section: 

  • Update of methane equation with new generated data
  • Expand the feedstuff including Carbon Footprint
  • Include farm specific Carbon footprint on home grown roughages
  • Include land use change of feedstuff (LUC)