Agri-footprint - Bugs & Issues

Agri-footprint 5.0

We believe that making the agri-food sector and society more sustainable and healthier begins with accurate and clear information. To facilitate this we developed the LCA-database Agri-footprint. The first version of the database has been released in 2014, followed by yearly updates. Agri-footprint is under continuous development and we are always looking for opportunities to enhance, extend and improve the database. Inevitably, the database contains certain 'bugs & issues'. Our Data & Model team is right on top of these flaws and they are making an effort to solve every issue.

We are convinced that transparency is essential in the development of sustainable agri-food chains, which is why we want to be open about the current 'bugs & issues' in Agri-footprint. Below you find an overview of the 'bugs & issues' related to Agri-footprint 5.0, including the solution we envision. And of course, please reach out to us if you want to raise any bug, issue or shortcoming you encountered.

Overview of current bugs & issues

Process in Agri-footprint 5.0
Description of issue
Emissions from ammonia as fertilizer for USDA crops Upstream emissions of ammonia as fertilizer not included for USDA crops (which can be recognized with "US-**" in the database). This means that production of ammona is not included in the cultivation LCI's for USDA crops. Emissions from ammonia are included in the dataset. USDA crops will either be updated or excluded from Agri-footprint in the future.
Methane emissions USDA rice cultivation Methane emissions are not included in USDA rice cultivations. This significantly lowers the carbon footprint of this product USDA crops will either be updated or excluded from Agri-footprint in the future.
Lime inputs are not included for non-arable crops Lime as input is not included for all orchard cultivations in AFP. This means that production of lime is not included in the cultivation LCI's for orchards. Emissions from lime are included in the dataset. Arable crops do not have this problem Impact of lime will be added to new update of Agri-footprint. Impact of lime production is low and the amount of orchard type of crops in Agri-footprint is limited. 
Grass, at dairy farm/NL Phosphor emissions from manure and fertilizer mapped to the wrong compartment (soil instead of water) for roughages. Roughages in AFP include: grass, lucerne and fodder beet. The error has impact on eutrophication impact category only. Roughages will be updated and expanded in the next Agri-footprint update. 
Pea slurry, at processing/NL Economic Process of pea wet milling should be using pea flour as a raw material input, while now it uses dry peas. Will be updated in new Agri-footprint version.
Pea protein-concentrate, at processing/NL Economic Pea flour should be used for pea protein concentrate instead of the pea market mix. Will be updated in new Agri-footprint version.
Bleaching Earth Wrong transportation distance used for transporting bleaching earth. Bleaching earth used in small quantities for some oil refining processes. Distance will be corrected in new Agri-footprint version
Fertilizer splits for Belgium Fertilizer splits for Belgium based on data from Belarus. Although the amount of NPK used for Belgian cultivations are correct the total amount of NPK is expressed based on fertilizer splits that are available in Belarus. Most important difference is that Belarus uses urea as the most commonly used nitrogen fertilizer, wheras Belgium uses calcium ammonium nitrate more often and barely uses urea. This issue has impact on the type of fertilzer use and its production for Belgian cultivations only. It does not have impact on the total amount synthetic fertilizer use for Belgian cultivations and most of the emissions: laughing gas emissions (all related to the amount of N). The only type of emission the error has influence on is the amount of ammonia from fertilizer, since this determined by the type of fertilizer used (Tier 2 emission modelling.

Future plans for the Agri-footprint database

Our ambition for Agri-footprint is to offer a high quality agricultural database, which is mainly focused on feed and animal production, based on up-to-date data and state of the art methodologies. We want to offer a reliable and transparent database that can be used as a basis for any LCA work.

The next update of Agri-footprint (AFP 6.0) is expected for the beginning van 2022.
For this update we are currently working on the following topics:

Methodological updates

  • Activity data update: Update the reference year to 2018 or 2019 of data used in the database. For example the FAO data: currently there is data on crop yield from 2018 available, therefore in this case we will update the 5 years average from 2013-2017 to 2014-2018. This update will include: crop production, manure, commodity trade and fertilizer trade data.
  • Peat update: Emissions coming from drained peat present in agricultural land are currently not included. For the next update this will be added as an additional emission type, based on methodology applied by the IPCC.

Content updates

  • Fertilizer regionalization + production data update: Production of fertilizer will be based on more recent publications. Also, different fertilizers producing regions will be considered (e.g. Europe, East Asia, North America) taking into account the cited variations. Furthermore, a market mix of fertilizers will also be included, which estimates the origin of the fertilizer used in a certain region..
  • Animal production systems: Currently Agri-footprint only covers a few animal production systems (milk/NL, broiler/NL, hen/NL, milk/IE, pig&piglet/NL). The ambition is to update these systems to the same modelling that is applied in APS-footprint and to expand the scope of animal productions based on the reference systems present in APS-footprint (e.g. milk/US-CA)
  • Roughages: Update the modelling and the data used for the roughages cultivations. This will also be based on the cultivation module of APS-footprint.
  • Better background data: Update of better background data for energy, materials and transport.

Did you discover a bug? Or do you want to raise an issue? 

We are happy to hear from you!