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Blog July 2022

Transporting livestock and CO₂ emissions

The EU’s Farm-to-Fork strategy launched in 2020. It provides measures and targets for each step along the food chain, including the welfare of animals during transportation. Minimising the time livestock spends on trucks is critical to their health and wellbeing. Of course, you know that. You also know that minimising that time involves planning around the production schedule of the slaughterhouse – or if breeding, accessing farms within agreed time windows and in the right sequence.

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Lara van Rijswijk Head of Marketing EMEA

Transporting livestock and CO₂ emissions

The EU’s Farm-to-Fork strategy launched in 2020. It provides measures and targets for each step along the food chain, including the welfare of animals during transportation. Minimising the time livestock spends on trucks is critical to their health and wellbeing. Of course, you know that. You also know that minimising that time involves planning around the production schedule of the slaughterhouse – or if breeding, accessing farms within agreed time windows and in the right sequence.

The ability to do these things isn’t only good for the animals, but also the environment. Less driving and time spent on the road means fewer CO₂ emissions.

The impact of the livestock sector on the environment

The sustainability of the livestock sector should concern us all. In 2017, the EU-28 agricultural industry generated 10% of Europe’s total GHG emissions. That figure is less than transport (21%), but the livestock industry is responsible for 81% – 86% of total agricultural emissions. Most of these emissions are the result of the impact on soil carbon stocks, which happens when forests and grasslands are converted to arable land¹.

Manure storage and feed production, processing and transportation are other big contributors to pollution. At every step within livestock supply chains, energy consumption produces CO₂ emissions, including the processing and transportation of animals.

A 2020 study by the European Commission determined that each European on average consumes 69.5 kilograms of meat and 236 litres of milk. EU meat and dairy consumption has started to decline, with meat consumption expected to decrease further by 2030.¹

The study found that reducing EU livestock production will most likely not encourage more sustainable agri-food chains. However, the study suggests that animal welfare should be a primary factor driving innovation for livestock farming systems going forward¹.

And now we’ve come full circle, right back to animal welfare and CO₂ emissions.

Innovation is a must-have to reach sustainability


Innovation will come in many forms, such as technologies needed to implement agroecological practices. But what about the actual transportation of livestock? How can you reduce CO₂ emissions right now, versus the future?

That technology is with us now in the form of digitalisation. With digitalisation, you can simplify the most complex logistics. Using an enterprise-grade SaaS, you can automate your planning and other processes. This makes your operations far more efficient, enabling drivers to keep on schedule and meet time windows.

Digitalised planning accounts for every last detail, all criteria and parameters, from truck capacity to necessary health certificates, whether you’re transporting animals for breeding or slaughter. Digitalisation optimises drivers’ routes, even as orders change, so that animals get to their destinations quicker, reducing driving time and fuel consumed, resulting in significant reductions in CO₂ emissions.

By implementing digitalisation, you can also drastically reduce empty runs. For example, it’s common for trucks to drive without loads more than 50% of the time spent on the road. That’s not only unproductive for operations, it’s spitting CO₂ emissions into the environment. Digitalisation enables you to explore new ways to transport animals.

Another impact digitalisation has on the environment is through the elimination of paper usage. With the use of tablets and smart phones connected to your back office, drivers can send and receive status updates. They can access routes and other information, using their in-cab solution for traceability, recording the type and number of animals loaded and unloaded. Photos not only document the condition of animals, but also acts as proof of delivery.

Digitalisation lets the driver capture signatures and store health certificates and proof of the animals’ origins on their device. Your office can do away with spreadsheets and paper trails – the work is done for you digitally by powerful algorithms in real time.

On average, 17 trees are needed to make one metric tonne of paper². It’s also estimated that the average office uses 10,000 pieces of paper each year³. With a drastic reduction in paper usage – or eliminating it all together – you can make an impact on your carbon footprint.

Reducing your emissions: getting started


We’ve just described the advantages of best-in-class, SaaS AMCS Livestock Planner and AMCS Mobile Workforce. Users report up to 25% savings in time needed for planning, 5% reduction in annual operating costs, and 20% increase in delivery quality and reliability. One user, at the time of reporting, had reduced their mileage by 4,000 kilometres and with it, a significant amount of CO₂ emissions.



To learn more about reducing your CO₂ emissions with AMCS digital solutions, we urge you to get in touch today.


¹European Commission, Commission publishes external study on future of EU livestock, 14 October 2020
²Dartmouth.edu, Forest and paper industry
³Energy Monitor, The paper industry’s burning secret, 5 November 2021

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