HKScan’s goal is a carbon-neutral food chain by the end of 2040. The company’s Zero Carbon target requires the promotion of local carbon sequestration together with our contract farmers. The carbon flux measurements carried out over the last two growing seasons are a concrete example of our work to increase understanding of the impact of farming techniques and growing season on local carbon sequestration. Based on the data obtained from carbon flux measurements, we will direct our efforts to the solutions chosen.
Carbon flux measurement work verifies the impact of different farming solutions on the carbon sequestration capacity of crops. Carbon dioxide flux measures the transport of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the soil and vegetation, i.e. the difference between photosynthesis and soil respiration. In terms of carbon sinks, the pursuit of good crop yields is the key.
“The data shows that good biomass and high amount of chlorophyll increase the carbon sequestration potential of the field. Under favourable conditions, fields sequester 40 kilos of carbon dioxide per hectare per hour. In other words, in one hour, a field hectare sequesters carbon dioxide an amount equivalent to driving an average of about 260 kilometres in an internal combustion engine car in road use in Finland,” says HKScan’s Research Manager Heikki Aro.
Carbon sequestration can be continued with so-called catch crops that continue to grow and sequester carbon after the grain harvest. Grass farming also has a positive impact on climate. In contrast, a tilled or stubbled field turns into carbon emissions in the autumn after harvest.
“Our goal is to achieve an increase of 500 kg per hectare in annual carbon sequestration in fields. At current carbon market prices, the value of sequestration would be about EUR 2,500 per 100 hectares of cropland,” says Aro.
Carbon flux measurements have been carried out in the fields of our contract farmers together with our partners Vaisala and Datasense. In HKScan’s Agrofood Ecosystem model, new solutions are tested on pilot farms and the best ones are put into practice across all our home markets.
“It is great to do advanced climate work with Agrofood Ecosystem® pilot farms and partners. Based on our cooperation, we can confirm that the measures contributing to crop productivity are also beneficial in terms of carbon sequestration. We have had a challenging growing season in which autumn crops really stood out,” he says.
State-of-the-art technology in carbon flux systems
The carbon flux equipment includes Vaisala’s gas sensor technology, various measurement systems and calculation models.
“The cooperation with HKScan, Datasense and farmers has broadened our understanding of ecological carbon flux measurement. We have also gained valuable feedback for the product development of our measurement technology. Vaisala’s technological solutions create the conditions for accurate carbon flux measurement also on a larger operational scale,” says Erik Sucksdorff, Head of Strategy and Business Development, Weather and Environment business area at Vaisala.
“Carbon sequestration verification studies are being carried out at about twenty sites across Finland. The studies are mainly comparisons of different farming methods and soil types. Datasense has provided the overall system as well as data and measurement services,” says Jiri Luojukoski, Research Project Manager at Datasense.
- Heikki Aro, RD Manager, HKScan, tel. +358 50 593 9393, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erik Sucksdorff, Head of Strategy and Business Development, Weather and Environment, Vaisala, tel. +358 45 872 3425, email@example.com
- Jiri Luojukoski, Research Project Manager, Datasense, tel. +358 40 641 3360, firstname.lastname@example.org
At HKScan, we make life tastier – today and tomorrow. Our strategic target is to grow into a versatile food company Our responsibly produced, delicious products are part of consumers’ varied food moments – both every day and on special occasions. We have some 7,000 HKScan professionals applying more than 100 years of experience to make locally produced food. For us at HKScan, responsibility means continuous improvements and concrete actions throughout the food chain. As part of our Zero Carbon project, we are targeting a carbon-neutral food chain from farms to consumers by the end of 2040. Our home markets cover Finland, Sweden, the Baltics and Denmark. Our strong product brands include HK®, Kariniemen®, Via®, Scan®, Pärsons®, Rakvere®, Tallegg® and Rose®. Through our strategic partnerships, we are also known for Kivikylän®, Tamminen® and Boltsi brands. HKScan is a publicly listed company, and in 2020, our net sales totalled nearly EUR 1.8 billion.
Vaisala is a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements. Building on 85 years of experience, Vaisala provides observations for a better world, with space-proof technology even exploring Mars and beyond. We are a reliable partner for customers around the world, offering a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs over 1,900 professionals worldwide and is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.
Datasense design and deliver IoT solutions for environmental research, institutes, industry, agriculture, construction, and real estate. Our passion is to accelerate our customers' sustainability development and business advantages with smart, high-quality IoT solutions, sensor technologies and data services. We care a lot about our customers' environmental concerns and business needs. The goal is to find the best possible sustainable business solution by combining careful needs analysis and modern technology opportunities. As a small and agile company, we are best suited in projects where speed and flexibility are the key. Through an extensive network of experts and close subcontracting cooperation, we also offer broader implementations.