COMET-Farm estimates the ‘carbon footprint’ for all or part of your farm/ranch operation and allows you to evaluate different options, which you select, for reducing GHG emissions and sequestering more carbon. General guidance is provided about potential changes to your management practices that are likely to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Because the tool uses detailed spatially-explicit data on climate and soil conditions for your location and allows you to enter detailed information for your field and livestock operations, it is able to produce an accurate estimate tailored to your specific situation. No prior training is needed to run the tool and embedded ‘Help’ functions are provided to assist you in running the tool.
- Cropland, Pasture, Range
- On-Farm Energy Use
You only need information on your field and livestock management practices.
For example, the Field Module asks you for your crop or pasture management practices starting from at least 2000, but more historical data if available, including cropping sequence and approximate planting and harvest date; type of grazing system (for pasture or range areas), type of tillage system; rate, timing, type and application method for fertilizer and manure applications; irrigation method and application rate, and residue management. Instead of requiring users to manually input data for all applicable years, you will be given an option to complete the management for one year, and copy that information to other years, allowing users to make minor changes to their management for all subsequent years. This effectively saves a substantial amount of time for the user.
For the Livestock Module you need information on your herd size and composition (i.e., species, sex and age ratios) and type of manure management system. More advanced methods to estimate livestock-related emissions are available if you have information on feed characteristics and feed supplements.
For the Energy Module, most of what is needed for the calculations is taken from information you’ve already provided for field and livestock management practices - some additional information on capital equipment and if you have any on-farm renewable energy production can also be entered into the tool.
You may use COMET-Farm in one of two ways – as a registered or unregistered user. Regardless of the method you choose, the USDA will not use, share, or view your information. You are the only person who is able to see your information.
Data stored for later use
Data purged immediately after use
Although registering allows you to conveniently store and later retrieve your management information, we recognize that not all users feel comfortable with this. You may continue without registering and the information you enter during this session will be purged and not stored permanently. If you change your mind at any time during your session, simply click on the Register link at the top right of the application and we will store any information previously entered.
The system uses your information on management practices together with spatially-explicit information on climate and soil conditions from USDA databases (which are provided automatically in the tool) to run a series of models for each potential source of greenhouse gas emissions.
For the Field Module, estimates are made using the DayCent dynamic model, which is the same model used in the official U.S. National Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
Emissions in the Livestock Module are estimated using statistical models based on USDA and university research result and are similar to models used in the U.S. National Inventory.
Estimates in the Energy Module are based on the models used in the USDA/NRCS Energy Tool along with supplemental peer-reviewed research results.