SUCCESSFUL TRIALS at Scotland’s first three Climate Change Focus Farms has proven that environmentally friendly methods can save farmers money and help them reduce their carbon footprint.
The three farms taking part in the trial have reported saved almost £60,000 between them over the past three years and two of the businesses have reduced their carbon footprint by at least 10%.
The sites were selected in 2010 as part of the Scottish Government’s Farming for a Better Climate programme. The farms and their results 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 and while it experienced a 5% rise in its carbon footprint 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.
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) delivered the programme and a new group of farmers will be selected in due course to carry on the initiative.
On a visit to Stewart Tower Farm, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“These are excellent results from our Focus Farms and very encouraging as we aim to help the industry contribute towards Scotland’s national emission reduction targets.
“We know that our climate is changing and we must be ready to face and adapt to the important challenges ahead. By using the best science available to us and giving farmers the tools and skills to meet them, we will ensure a sustainable future for the industry.
“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.
“I hope other farmers across Scotland will look at this programme and consider how they can implement similar practices on their land and play their part in lowering the country’s carbon footprint overall.”