Special Edition: Asia Pacific Feed Developments

'A lot of companies in Australia look at environmental performance as a USP'

© istock/ipopba

Agri-environmental consultancy, Alltech E-CO2, launches into the Australian market and reveals plans for North American expansion, as part of a strategy to globalize its environmental assessment services for farmers.

Alltech E-CO2 has opened an office in Bendigo, Australia, with the aim of tapping into the demand for on-farm environmental assessment tools and services created by a drive for greater farm efficiency. 

“The sustainability of agriculture is vital in Australia and with a livestock farming industry that works with global markets, a lot of companies in Australia look at environmental performance as a USP, a way to make their products stand out,” Andrew Wynne, business general manager of Alltech E-CO2, told FeedNavigator. 

He continued: “It is very similar to North America, where there are many sustainability initiatives across the industry. We see an opportunity to provide a series of tools for farmers that help make more informed management decisions leading towards better physical, financial and environmental performance. We are looking to fulfil that requirement through a combination of local knowledge and lessons learned from the UK.” 

Wynne said that Alltech E-CO2 was currently running farm trials with a number of Australian companies to hone its carbon footprinting and improvement tools for the local market. In preparation for opening a base in Ontario, Canada, he said the consultancy had already conducted a number of beef and dairy farm trials and was planning to continue those trials and demonstrate Alltech E-CO2’s systems. 

“Wherever we go we want to make farmers more resilient to market fluctuations; it’s about understanding the challenges they face and having the data-gathering tools to evaluate where they might be able to make savings and improvements that will make their businesses more resilient,” explained Wynne. 

The globalization of Alltech E-CO2’s service would also benefit farmers in other countries and regions by providing better benchmarking, he added. 

“Benchmarking is key to improvement,” he explained. “Once farms start to benchmark against their peers and against the most carbon efficient farms, they can identify their strengths and weaknesses and formulate plans to realize potential opportunities for improvement.” 

Improvements could be as simple as a producer adjusting diets or rations to a more sustainable feed source. 

Interactive tools 

To support its on-farm consultancy services, this month Alltech E-CO2 has launched a new website, which is said to offer “opportunities to gain a better understanding of the factors affecting resource efficiency as well as access to tools to help farmers improve enterprise performance”

Interactive ‘What If?’ Tools calculate carbon footprints, providing a starting point for farmers to assess and benchmark their business efficiency, whilst virtual farm graphics provide a guide to the origins of greenhouse gas emissions. 

“In the last few years we’ve developed a series of self-entry tools for farmers, processors and retailers. We are starting to see these tools being used to greater effect on farms, helping them make more informed management decisions,” said Wynne.

A more holistic approach

The new website also reflects how the business has changed since it was formed in February 2015 when The E-CO2 Project was acquired by global animal nutrition group Alltech to strengthen its environmental service offering to global livestock and crop producers. 

Wynne said that in that time, E-CO2’s focus has shifted from carbon footprinting to looking at the overall relationship between environmental efficiency and profitability. 

“The core element of our offering has always been carbon footprinting, but in the last two years we’ve started using our farm visits to look at animal health metrics and offer more holistic advice on farm performance,” said Wynne. “It’s more than just data collection and processing - it’s about how farmers can utilize data to help their bottom line and the environment.” 

While the company’s heritage lies in dairy and beef, Alltech E-CO2 has now developed models for all monogastrics, extending its tools to pig and poultry producers, along with plans for aquaculture and crop tools in 2017.

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