Task 1 aims to determine and model Land use, environment and biodiversity parameters associated with different combinations of protein resources identified in Task 2. This Task is separated into two components, 1) application of sustainability indicators including carbon footprint at farm level and 2) land use and resource optimisation on a large scale. The relationship between Land use and biodiversity, yield of extractable high quality protein, other valuable nutrients and functional compounds from the residual biomass will be expressed per hectar of land. Management of these natural protein resources, potential return on investment and the impact on the environment will be factored into the model with carbon footprint been a key output from the model.
The data generated by U-Protein will support a parallel objective which is to utilise on-farm sustainability metrics from the Teagasc National Farm Survey to evaluate the effect of alternative protein crops and marine biomass on the sustainability of farm level primary agricultural production systems; outputs can be examined through farm level modelling.
A key output of the research will be the ability to express findings from Land Use and Sustainability indicators per kg protein produced and allow for comparisons to be made between the different protein resources and ultimately facilitate the selection of protein based on nutritional quality, environmental impact and suitability for the Irish Agri-Ecosystem.