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Update on focus farms

24 June 2016

We are now over a year into the second round of the Scottish Government funded climate change focus farms project as part of the Farming for a Better Climate initiative.  SRUC consultants and specialists are working with nine volunteer farmers and their discussion groups across Scotland to consider practical ideas to improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in a way that is also profitable to the farm business.

The initiative focuses on practical ideas around key actions areas that most farms will be able to benefit from, these include energy and fuel use, renewables, nutrient efficiency and optimising livestock performance.

Carrying out a carbon footprint on the farms using AgRE Calc©, highlighted areas where greenhouse gas emissions were low or high in comparison to benchmark data.  Identifying practices with higher emissions suggested areas for further investigation and possible scope for cost reduction.  Feed, fuel and fertiliser use were all areas which kept cropping up.

Previous focus farmers, who were also already technically efficient, were still able to save an average of £20,000 through small tweaks and changes to routine activities, and knocked around 10% off their farm carbon footprint.

The farms host a number of discussion group meetings throughout the year to explore practical ideas and exchange information.  All farmers are welcome to come to these focus farm discussion group meetings which are advertised locally and on our  Farming for a Better Climate Facebook page and Twitter account @sacfarm4climate.

For more detail about the initiative, host farms and practical guides and case studies  visit the webpages at  There are a range of carbon footprinting tools aimed at farm businesses; we used AgRE Calc© which is available at

Rebecca Audsley, Senior Consultant, SAC Consulting

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