NorFor’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.

`Carbon Footprint Calculator` for prediction of greenhouse gas emissions coming from the animal and from the feed.

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, values are based on Mogensen et al. (2018). CPF from feed includes emissions from its production, until it is ready for animal consumption, meaning cultivation, processing and transport are taken into account.

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 between the main and byproduct(s). For example, CFP from rapeseed is divided into the oil product and the cake/meal.

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

Calculations of greenhouse gas emissions in NorFor are now expressed as methane emissions from animals and emissions from feed in CO2 equivalents. Moreover, it also includes a total CFP, expressed as CO2 per cow per day or per kg of energy corrected milk (ECM).

As an example, rations were planned for a herd producing 11.000 kg ECM per cow per year, based on common production systems in Denmark. The “Standard” ration mimicked a typical ration in Denmark, while the “Maize” ration included higher maize silage compared to the former one. The “Fat” ration included higher fatty acid content than the “Standard”. The “By product” ration included brewers grains and HP sugar beet pulp. “Forage” ration included higher proportion of forage. All rations met basic NorFor recommendations for the cow in terms of energy, metabolizable protein (AAT), rumen N balance (PBV) and rumen load index (RLI). A better description of the rations can be found in the conference proceedings..

Results showed that total CFP was lower than can be reported in the literature, as NorFor do not include emissions from heifers, electricity used in the production and manure emissions.

The addition of maize silage to the “Maize” ration had low impact to the CFP, as higher maize silage reduced methane emissions but the need of inclusion of protein supplements increased CFP, resulting in a low reduction of total CFP. Similar results were obtained in the “Forage” ration.

The “Byproduct” ration markedly reduced total CFP, due to lower CFP value for these feeds. However, the availability of by-products is limited in comparison of the whole dairy sector need of feed supply.

The “Fat” ration resulted in lower total CPF due to lower methane emissions which is an effect of lower ration intake (higher concentration of energy on the ration). However, the price of this ration should be taken into consideration.

The NorFor model now includes a `Carbon Footprint Calculator` making possible the optimization of the ration in terms of nutrition, health, economy and environment. Hence, a NorFor feed ration now can also present the impact of greenhouse gas emissions for its users.


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.

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.