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A digital calculator to know the carbon footprint of wheat crops

A research team from INTA (National Institute of Agricultural Technology) and INTI (National Institute of Industrial Technology) in Argentina created a tool that aims to know the environmental impact of the entire production chain linked to wheat.

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For this, the life cycle analysis and all the aspects and supplies involved were taken into account, from the field to the shelf. This information will be available at QR codesin line with the new market demands and consumer demands.

“With the calculator, we leave users the possibility of generating a diagnosis and, as it is an open tool, they also have the possibility of building alternative scenarios to observe how the carbon footprint varies as these changes in parameters such as distances travelled, type of transport, procedures, inputs, etc. are evaluated. and energy used, among others”, analyzed, in the released statement, Leticia Tuninetti, specialist in environmental engineering at INTI and who heads the project together with the coordinator of INTA’s Environmental Footprints Platform, Rodolfo Bongiovanni.

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The carbon footprint is an indicator that allows knowing the totality of greenhouse gases greenhouse effect (GHG) emitted (quantified in CO2 emissions), indirectly, by an individual, organization or event. In this particular case, the amount of GHG generated throughout the production chain is being evaluated.

In this way it is possible to know the environmental impact that certain processes have, which opens the possibility of generating pollution mitigation strategies. With this objective, the Argentine Carbon Neutral Program (PACN) summoned specialists from INTA and INTI to produce a carbon footprint calculator for producers and users involved in the wheat value chain.

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While INTA focused on the agricultural stage, INTI focused on the industrial stage. Together, they tackled the wheat production chain and analyzed the life cycle from the field to the port or the customer.

The carbon footprint calculator is a tool developed based on a series of drop-down tabs and standardized options, in such a way that it constitutes a package for the final user that can be a producer, a mill or a factory that allows determining the environmental impact”, stressed Bongiovanni.

The calculator studies the environmental impact of 1 hectare of wheat cultivation, of 1 ton of wheat grain in the field gate, at the stockpile exit and in the hold of a ship (FOB condition). Also that of 1 kilo of wheat flour at the exit of the flour mill, at the port or client of the flour mill, as well as 1 kilo of dry long pasta at the exit of the dry pasta factory and at the port or client of the dry pasta factory.

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The tool is intended for all those who are part of all the productive links of this cereal and its derivatives, such as the production of flour and dry pasta. Producers who want to access this tool can request it, free of charge, through this link.

Just as this tool was created to measure the climate impact of wheat production, there are already others developed for corn, sorghum and oilseeds. And one on dairy is under development.

Users who access this tool will also have a calculator manual and another on good environmental management practices to optimize those indicators that generate the greatest footprint.

Once the producers obtained the diagnosis of their carbon footprint and located the stages that explain the greatest amount of emissions, mitigation and/or compensation alternatives can be designed.

Eventually the information on the carbon footprint generated by each product will be available for access through QR codes, on the packaging

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