DRAFT greenhouse gas calculator for grass-based cattle ranches, v.0.2
Here is a simple draft greenhouse gas calculator for grass and cattle producers, in Microsoft Excel format. This calculator differs from many in that it recognizes that soil, and soil biology, is a principal factor influencing the composition of the atmosphere. To judge or quantify such effects, site-specific measurements are needed, such as changes in soil carbon levels over time.
The promise of a calculator is that you can assess your consumption of resources, or your impact, and presumably be motivated to reduce it. However, the world is not just an input-output system, or collection of sinks and sources. There are complex interdependencies, flows, and cycles. When people say that it takes a village to raise a child, they do not mean that a village is destroyed for every child raised. There can be synergy, mutual benefit. Likewise for the water, solar energy, and carbon that goes into life processes. They are not destroyed.
However, there seems to be popular demand, and this draft calculator is a response to that demand, and an effort to enlarge perceptions of the interdependencies.
For most grass-based cattle producers, the major fluxes of greenhouse gases are likely to be methane from enteric fermentation, and changes in soil carbon levels--which have great influence on soil aggregates and the function of water cycling, which is not really accounted for here.
The calculator comes preloaded with fictitious figures based on a 10,000 acre property, with 600 cow-calf pairs, that ships 800-pound yearlings.
Suggestions welcome. The Excel file contains multiple tabs.