Scotland’s first three Climate Change Focus Farms have saved almost £60,000 between them over the past three years – and two of the businesses reduced their carbon footprint by at least 10%.
The full results for the farms – selected in 2010 as part of the Scottish Government’s Farming for a Better Climate programme – are:
- Torr Farm, Auchencairn, Castle Douglas. The dairy business saved around £37,000 and reduced its carbon footprint by 11%
- Glenkilrie Farm, Blairgowrie. This upland livestock farm saved around £11,000 and reduced its carbon footprint by 10%
- Stewart Tower Farm, Stanley, Perthshire. The mixed dairy farm followed a reduced programme to the other focus farms and saved around £10,000. Although its carbon footprint rose by 5% due to increased livestock numbers, increased feed and exceptional weather, reductions in the farm’s carbon footprint are expected in the next reporting and subsequent years
The fourth focus farm – Upper Nisbet in the Borders – still has one year left of the trial to run with results expected in 2014.
The programme was delivered by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and a new group of farmers will be selected in due course to carry on the initiative.
Neil Butler, Stewart Tower Farm, said: “We were already focusing on some of the areas that have been brought up in the project, for example we have a carbon footprint as part of our milk contract with Sainsbury’s. The initiative helped us to build on this and look at other areas where we could make a change.For example using less fertiliser and increasing clover in grass has had a benefit and is something that everyone can consider and adapt depending on their individual circumstances.
“One of the things that comes out of these projects is that the cumulative benefits add up, not only for the individual farm but if all farmers were to take up similar measures, could show a significant reduction in emissions from agricultural activities across Scotland.”
On a visit today to Stewart Tower Farm, Richard Lochhead, Rural Affairs Minister, said: “What we have here is good examples of how low carbon farming can benefit the livelihoods of farmers and still maintain a healthy business.
“They have made simple changes, recorded financial savings and have continued to operate in a competitive industry. Based on these findings we will look how a contribution to climate mitigation could be delivered as part of CAP Greening.”