A pioneering sustainable farming initiative aims to help decarbonise the global ruminant agriculture sector while supporting farmers in continuing to produce meat and milk.

The initiative, Agrinewal, is lead by Northern Ireland headquartered agri-technology company Devenish in collaboration with global professional services firm Accenture.

By accurately measuring on-farm carbon emissions and carbon sequestration, it is estimated Agrinewal will enable more than five million tonnes of carbon to be sequestered by 2030.

A spokesperson said the initiative had the potential to create new value for farmers across the island of Ireland, and accelerate the achievement of climate goals while also improving biodiversity, water quality and overall farm resilience.

The initiative capitalises on 21 years of research and science by Devenish and is backed by the latest artificial intelligence and cloud technology expertise from Accenture.

How it works

Using the latest cloud-based technology, the tool provides a ‘Carbon Balance Sheet’ which can be used to benchmark progress against current performance.

It also identifies actions that will help reach net-zero and net-negative carbon emissions, boosting the environmental credentials for producers, processors and at every point on the food chain.

The system uses precise monitoring and regenerative agriculture practices – such as soil health, biodiversity and carbon sequestration and focuses on achieving the renewal of resources, rather than depletion.

It’s hoped the project will improve on-farm financial performance, soil health, animal welfare and water quality, while also reducing harmful emissions and increasing biodiversity. Additionally, it also opens up the possibility of new income streams for farmers from carbon farming and data analytics.

‘Part of the climate solution’

Devenish chief executive Richard Kennedy said: “Agrinewal’s purpose is to heal the planet and create value for farmers, processors, consumer brands and governments.

“Our vision is to enable carbon-neutral farming on a global scale while at the same time empowering farmers to increase revenues from their work to provide healthy, nutritious food.

“Devenish’s farming research and science knowledge, coupled with technology from Accenture, makes for clear differentiation from other farm management systems. Agrinewal will improve farm incomes through improved farm efficiencies and performance, as well as introducing new value through carbon while working towards solving the existential threats to farming and environmental issues.

“Agrinewal is a game-changer for farming, for food and for the environment, for this and the following generations.

“It allows farmers to maximise the potential of their land in a sustainable fashion, and because each farm will be on the road to achieving net-zero and beyond, it will change the narrative around the agriculture sector from a climate problem to a climate solution.”

Tim Cody, managing director, products, at Accenture in Ireland, added: “Our teams are working together to harness the power of artificial intelligence, data analytics and cloud to drive transformational change for both the food and the agricultural industries, putting Ireland at the forefront of innovation in this important area.”

Agrinewal will initially focus on beef and dairy farmers on the island of Ireland before being rolled out globally in the coming years.

The initiative’s roll-out has been supported by the Irish agriculture and food development authority Teagasc.