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.
Fuelling Our Future Farmers of Wales
Live Maize Harvesting and Crimping Demo at Exeter Site
Applications Open for New Energy Crops Scheme