The purpose of the ‘beef production’ section of FARM ES is to separate out any of the GHGs from the dairy farm that should be attributed to beef. Cull cows, for example, produce 2 products over their lifetime: milk and beef. FARM ES makes an estimate for how much of the GHG emissions should be attributed to milk versus beef based on the number of cull cows and their approximate weight. Calves that are sold are also incidental to milk production – they’re a necessary part of milk production. Cull cows and calves sold are both incidental to milk production – a necessary part of the process that we want to separate out for GHG accounting purposes.
For operations that are NOT raising animals to finishing and selling the animals as calves, they can be included in the ‘Annual Number sold for Beef’ section. Be sure to not include calves sold as replacement animals to other dairies.
For operations that ARE raising animals to finishing, make a judgment call on when those animals leave the ‘dairy’ side of the business and enter the ‘beef’ side of the business. We have determined that a good arbitrary cutoff is weaning. Include calves being raised for beef on-site until they are weaned. At the point of weaning, consider them ‘sold’ by the dairy and include the number and average weight per cow (lbs) in the evaluation.