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Farming for the future

As Scotland works towards being a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture a new four tier framework of agricultural support will be launched. The new framework will deliver high quality, local, and nutritious food, while restoring nature and mitigating and adapting to climate change in the transition to Net Zero.

This transition will be a phased approach, starting from 2025 when recipients of farm payments will need to have a Whole Farm Plan in place. For full details see the Scottish Government's Whole Farm Plan guidance.

What is the Whole Farm Plan?

Aerial photo of a farm with sheep under 3 trees

The Whole Farm Plan will help farmers and crofters to identify opportunities for improvement and support you to work towards more sustainable and profitable systems.

The Whole Farm Plan will be at the core of the transition from CAP Legacy schemes to Scotland’s new support framework. By establishing their current performance and activities, businesses will be better able to identify opportunities for improvement and work towards being more productive and profitable. This also helps contribute to meeting Scotland’s climate and nature targets.

In 2025, farmers and crofters are being asked to prepare for the Whole Farm Plan by undertaking at least two baseline plans or audits from those below.

1. Animal health and welfare plan

Developed with the support of your vet, this plan enhances livestock health and welfare while improving performance and efficiency. It includes a biosecurity risk assessment, key performance indicators, a euthanasia policy and a health management plan.

Getting started

QMS have produced an animal health and welfare plan that can help you through the process. The videos below will take you through the finer detail.

The effects flock health planning can have on the profitability of a business. A health plan is something that needs continually reviewed and updated as the year progresses.

Discussing dynamic health planning and health planning in practice.

The cost of disease and other ailments such as lameness and pneumonia greatly impact on performance and fertility which has a severe welfare, financial and economic consequence.

2. Biodiversity audit

By completing a basic habitat map you gain an accurate picture of the habitats on your farm or croft, helping you to make management decisions to protect and enhance biodiversity.

The video to the right will will help to provide guidance on why we should map habitats, and some resources that you can use to do that mapping.

For further information about biodiversity in Scottish agriculture, you can visit our Biodiversity page.

Assessing habitats

A range of tools that could be used to help farmers baseline different aspects of the environment across their land, covering bird and plant identification, habitat mapping and condition assessing, soil health assessments, and woodland status and condition.

Identifying common habitats

The wide range of benefits that farmland habitats provide is becoming increasingly recognised and industry is increasing asking farmers to quantify and map these habitats. This technical note provides an overview of the resources that farmers can use.

3. Carbon audit

A carbon audit helps you to understand your farm or croft’s carbon footprint and identify the quantity and source of greenhouse gas emissions. It highlights opportunities for business and environmental improvement.

Getting started

The content below will give you a clearer idea of what a carbon audit entails.

Further information can be found on the FAS carbon audits page.

The benefits of a carbon audit

Not only can a carbon audit help your farming business to be more environmentally sustainable, it can also help you identify where performance improvements can be made, helping you to compete better with similar enterprises. It can help you identify where performance improvements can be made.

Carbon audits for dairy farms

Carbon Auditing is an important tool for dairy farming businesses as it not only gives a figure for Greenhouse Gas Emissions per litre of milk produced but can also be used to determine the efficiency of a business and highlight areas where improvements can be made.

4. Integrated pest management plan (IPM)

IPM is an approach for the prevention, detection and control of plant pests, diseases and weeds using measures such as crop rotations and using resistant crop varieties. If you use Plant Protection Products you need an IPM Plan to demonstrate that their use is justified.

This infographic from Arable Scotland gives a great overview of the effects of IPM and how to improve your own IPM score.

Understanding IPM

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) combines a range of tools to more efficiently target the application of plant protection products thereby reducing the risk of pesticide resistance.

IPM assessment plans

These are designed to facilitate discussions between crop protection decision makers aiming to increase IPM adoption. They take between 20-30 mins to complete.

IPM technical note

This technical note seeks to give a detailed overview of the benefits of IPM, what it means in practice for agricultural workers and farmers, and the reasons for undertaking an IPM plan.

The benefits of a carbon audit

Not only can a carbon audit help your farming business to be more environmentally sustainable, it can also help you identify where performance improvements can be made, helping you to compete better with similar enterprises. It can help you identify where performance improvements can be made.

The benefits of a carbon audit

Not only can a carbon audit help your farming business to be more environmentally sustainable, it can also help you identify where performance improvements can be made, helping you to compete better with similar enterprises. It can help you identify where performance improvements can be made.

5. Soil analysis

If you have Region 1 land and apply any fertilisers or organic manures you need to undertake soil analysis. This enables you to target nutrient applications where they are needed most, improving efficiency of fertiliser use.

Getting started

This article on preparing for sustainable farming will give you an overview of several different ways you can prepare for the whole farm plan, including soil sampling and analysis

There are also two practical guides available on how to take a soil sample and the benefits of soil sampling to your business.

How to interpret your soil analysis

What to do with the information that you receive when you run a routine soil analysis and what this means regarding your soils and your agronomic decisions.

Managing fertiliser costs

Using less fertiliser can be a false economy if reductions in yield and quality exceed any savings made. So, while it is a valid strategy, care needs to be taken.

Soil biodiversity and health

Soil biodiversity is the variety of living organisms within a soil. A healthy soil will contain a large number and variety of organisms. Increasing biodiversity will increase the resilience of the soil.

Further questions

If you have any further questions, you can contact the advice line by emailing advice@fas.scot or by calling 0300 3230161.

Further support with your WFP application is also available from your nearest RPID Area Office.

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