This course will provide the science basis behind the methods developed to assess agricultural systems in LCA, together with practicing the use of the various methods.

Evaluation of the sustainability of agricultural products requires a holistic method of assessment such as the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and not just the carbon footprint. Agriculture has some specific features that contrast with other areas of environmental appraisal, e.g. long term effects in the soil, large variability of soil born emissions, interactions between animal performance, diet and soil type. 

This course will provide the basis for an LCA practitioner to carry out an exhaustive, scientifically sound and complete LCA of agricultural systems.

At a glance

Course structure

The course will last 2 days. It is composed of lectures, practical sessions and group sessions. The practical sessions will also deal with familiarisation of the different accounting methods used within agricultural LCA. A case study related to a LCA of cropping system will be carried out together with an assessment of pasture and housed ruminant production.

What you will learn

On successful completion of this module the students should be able to:

  • Apply LCA with confidence
  • Critically compare different approaches
  • Appreciate the complexities of agricultural LCA and impacts beyond the carbon footprint
  • Appreciate the limits of empirical methods Understand and apply systems models them from existing packages
  • Conduct an exhaustive LCA of agricultural production systems
  • Compare alternative crop and animal production systems.

Core content

  • Principles of LDA
  • LCA vs carbon footprint
  • Agricultural systems and how they differ from other subject areas
  • Systems models vs empirical sources of input data
  • Data sources and quality
  • Crop models as inputs
  • Animal models as inputs
  • Impacts beyond greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint)
  • Theory and hands on application with the Cranfield systems-LCA model - Crop
  • LCA tool

Who should attend

  • Agricultural consultants involved with agricultural environmental assessment
  • LCA practitioners who want agricultural insight Policy, R&D and technical agri-food staff who need to understand sustainability assessment of agricultural systems
  • Good knowledge of some areas of LCA, agriculture or environmental science essential
  • Confidence in using quantitative methods desirable.


This course is provided via the Agrifood Training Partnership (AFTP)


(20% discount for Cranfield alumni, 10% discount for colleagues of alumni)
£550 - Professional/trade association discount
£530 - Multiple bookings*

*Minimum of 5 delegates

Accommodation options and prices

This is a non-residential course. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information regarding our accommodation on campus can be found here.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world.

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road 
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.