A benchmark survey carried out by SAOS as part of a Carbon Trust
Networks project has established that farmers can cut their carbon
footprint and save money.
The survey found that while many farmers will ensure the correct volume of fertiliser is spread on field, the spread pattern itself may not have been checked.
The five farmer co-operatives involved in the project
are: Borders Machinery Ring, Scottish Agronomy, North Highland
Products, HBS Ring and Tayforth Machinery Ring.
The benchmark survey found that the average carbon dioxide
(CO2) Greenhouse gases are produced from three main sources
on a farm: Methane, from livestock; nitrous oxide, produced
through the use of mineral fertiliser and animal manures;
CO2 is produced by burning fossil fuels and using electricity.
Methane and nitrous oxide are powerful greenhouse gases.
1 kg of methane has the equivalent warming effect of 26
kgs of CO2 and 1kg of nitrous oxide has the equivalent
warming effect of 296 kgs of CO2. emissions across the
10 farms surveyed was 3.85 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per
hectare. The outputs varied enormously from farm to farm
depending upon the overall output and the different enterprises.
The main sources of emissions were attributed to the methane
produced from livestock, nitrous oxide produced through
the use of mineral fertiliser and animal manures, and CO2
from burning fossil fuels and using electricity.
Hamish Walls, of SAOS, commented: “The benchmark
survey allows us to see where carbon emission reductions
can be made on farms, simultaneously providing financial
benefits for the business. The survey also found that many
farmers are very keen to understand how this can be achieved,
which is what the Carbon Trust Networks project is all
A prime example is the use of fertiliser. The survey found
that while many farmers will ensure the correct volume
of fertiliser is spread on field, the spread pattern itself
may not have been checked. A simple test can find the optimum
spread pattern, ensuring maximum use of fertiliser applied
and therefore reduced nitrous oxide emissions. As well
as making a contribution to reducing Scotland’s greenhouse
gas emissions, this also delivers a cost savings to farmers.
John Stocks, Manager, Carbon Trust Scotland, added, “The
Carbon Trust’s role is to help all businesses reduce
their carbon emissions. The agricultural sector is an important
part of the Scottish economy and therefore we are delighted
to be funding this project being run by SAOS that will
help farmers reduce carbon dioxide emissions and deliver
To help farmers understand more about carbon management
alongside the five farmer co-operative partners, SAOS will
be holding a series of lunchtime seminars in January 2008,
supported by the Carbon Trust Scotland. These seminars
will give farmers the opportunity to calculate their own
carbon footprint using a web-based calculator, as well
as receive some environmental and money saving information.
Agricultural Organisation Society) is the association
of Scotland’s farmers’ co-ops
and farmer-owned businesses, and provides development advice
and consultancy services to its 80 members, to groups of
farmers interested in co-operating, and to companies in
Scotland’s food and drink marketing chains. The turnover
of SAOS’ member businesses in 2006 was £1.4
billion. SAOS’ work is supported by the Scottish
Government. The Chairman is Gareth Baird, who farms near
The Carbon Trust
Carbon Trust is a private company set
up by government in response to the threat of climate change,
to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. The
Carbon Trust works with UK business and the public sector
to create practical business-focused solutions through
its external work in five complementary areas: insights,
solutions, innovations, enterprises and investments. Together
these help to explain, deliver, develop, create and finance
low carbon enterprise.
The Carbon Trust is funded by the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department
for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR),
the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government
and Invest Northern Ireland.
· For more information on the Carbon Trust
visit www.carbontrust.co.uk or call the Carbon Trust Advice
Line on 0800 085 2005.
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