Farming for a Better Climate (FFBC) provides practical support to benefit the farm and help reduce our impact on the climate. Taking action as a sector, both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to a changing climate, will secure farm viability for future generations.
FFBC is run by SRUC on behalf of the Scottish Government. We combine ideas trialled by our volunteer Climate Change Focus Farms and information from up-to-the-minute scientific research. We offer practical advice to help you choose the most relevant measures to improve both your farm performance and resilience to future climate change effects.
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New for 2020, we've launched our new monthly podcast. Each month we'll hear from guest speakers, ranging from experienced farmers and leading industry experts - all of whom have experience and knowledge of how to adapt to a changing climate.
Subscribe to our podcast via our Audioboom channel to ensure you are notified with each new episode.
Adapting to a changing climate
In this episode Séamus Murphy speaks to Environment consultant Iain Boyd and Anna Beswick of Adaptation Scotland about what the impacts of climate change are going to be on Scotland and Scottish agriculture. The podcast focuses on what can be done now to build resilience into current farm businesses to ensure a sustainable future. The recent SAC Consulting publication 'Climate change adaptation for agriculture Is your farm ready?' is discussed heavily.
Grazing Strategies: One size doesn't fit all
In this episode SAC Consulting sheep specialist Poppy Frater speaks to farmers Alex Brewster of Rotmell Farm and Graham Lofthouse of Bankhouse farm about their own respective grazing strategies. Both Alex and Graham are on a journey to improve their grazing but have done so in different ways while dealing with the different challenges of soils, weather and animal behaviour thrown up over the years on each of their farms. Both farmers highlight the importance of finding a system that suits your farm business and that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to grazing strategies.
Hardgrove Farm: Improving efficiencies with herd health & fertility management (Jan 2021)
In this Farming for a Better Climate podcast environment consultant Séamus Murphy and dairy specialist Dr.Lorna MacPherson speak to dairy farmer Alistair Marshall and farm manager Ken McFeely of Hardgrove Farm. The discussion looks at how Hardgrove Farm has managed to increase efficiency in production, which can ultimately reduce emissions, through an increased focus on health and fertility planning over the last few years. There are lots of take away points for any farmer looking to improve efficiency in the dairy herd and reduce their carbon footprint.
Agroforestry Systems (Dec 2020)
In this episode Poppy Frater, SAC Consulting's Sheep & Grassland Specialist chats with Nikki Yoxall, from Grampian Graziers and Finn Weddle, a farm advisor and director within Reforesting Scotland. Poppy, Nikki and Finn have a really interesting discussion about the many benefits of Agroforestry systems, from improved animal welfare with the improved shelter, nutritional benefits from grazing access to different tree species and other health benefits, e.g. parasitic control from the naturally occurring chemicals ingested with the range of plants found within a woodland flora.
Nikki farms rare breed, native cattle in Aberdeenshire and provides interesting updates and posts on the #TheWeeMob on her Twitter page @Howemill. (Photo credit for this podcast image goes to Nikki Yoxall) . Finn can be found on Twitter at @DesignAndConker where you can access his regular 'Regenerative Livelihood Podcast'.
Improving Efficiencies in the Dairy Herd (Oct 2020)
In this episode, we hear from Lorna MacPherson, Senior Dairy Consultant with SAC Consulting, and Megan Fergusson, Veterinary Investigation Office with SRUC Veterinary Services. The topics discussed include improving herd health, fertility and nutrition as ways to improve efficiencies within the dairy herd.
Farming in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable manner at Balcaskie, Fife (Aug 2020)
In this episode we listen in as Beef Specialist Consultant, Robert Ramsay, chats to Sam Parson, the Farms Estate Director at the Balcaskie Estate, Fife. Sam explains that the farm has a 50-year outlook for the business and as a result both economic resilience and climate change led farm management changes. The estate is now transitioning the in-hand farm enterprises to a fully organic status incorporating a more regenerative system. We hear more about the grazing management employed on the estate, including the practicalities of managing bale and rotation grazing systems.
We also have a Case Study to download featuring Balcaskie Estate - Making Use of Bale Grazing at Balcaskie Estate.
A revisit to Woodhead - a previous Climate Change Focus Farm (July 2020)
In this episode we revisit Woodhead near Newmilns in Ayrshire and chat with dairy farmer John Kerr and agricultural consultant Alexander Pirie. John was a Climate Change Focus Farm host from 2014 - 2018 and made significant financial savings whilst reducing his farm carbon footprint by 6%. We hear his thoughts about the project, what he gained from his time as a host and how he has continued to make further improvements to the farm business to further increase business efficiency.
Climate Change in Agriculture & Rewilding (June 2020)
In this episode, we hear from Professor Davy McCracken (SRUC Hill & Mountain Research Centre at Kirkton & Auchtertyre)
Press Articles & Newsletters
Farming Scotland Magazine
We have a regular column in the Farming Scotland Magazine which is available to from newsagents, livestock marts and supermarkets.
Use the links below to read the latest articles.
- Foliar feeds (May 2021)
- Sell or hold carbon on your farm? (March 2021)
- Focusing on farm soils (Jan 2021)
- Do you know how much your cows are eating? (Nov 2020)
- Micronutrients for Arable Soils (Sept 2020)
- Feed Budgeting to Improve Resilience (July 2020)
- Experimenting With Establishment (May 2020)
- Top Tips for Calving (March 2020)
- Habitat Linkage & Carbon Sinkage (Jan 2020)
- Keeping Calves Productive and Healthy in Cold Conditions (Nov 2019)
- Earthworms for Soil Health (Sept 2019)
- Agroforestry - Could it work for you? (July 2019)
- Profitable ideas we can all benefit from (May 2019)
- Nutrient Budgeting (Aug 2018)
- Cover Crops (July 2018)
- The benefits of slurry to the farmer (April 2018)
- The hidden value of soil organic matter (July 2017)
- Improving grassland performance (July 2016)
- Supporting Soils & Protecting Yields (Nov 2015)
General Farming Press Publications
- Time to Covet Cover Crops (Sept 2020)
- Soil Discussion Group Drives Sustainable Change (May 2020)
- Hydrogen Fuelled Tractor Enthusiasm Grows on Aberdeenshire Farm (April 2020)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Winter 2020-21
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Summer 2020
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Winter 2019-20
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Summer 2019 (3.34 MB, PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Winter 2018-19 (4 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Summer 2018 ( 5.73 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter December 2017 (4.84 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter June 2017 (4.03 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter December 2016 (1.46 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter June 2016 (3.53 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter December 2015 (4.43 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter June 2015 (4.19 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter December 2014 (463.99 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter June 2014 (878.97 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Dec 2013 (961.77 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter June 2013 (1.02 MB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Dec 2012 (781.25 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter April 2012 (991.61 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Oct 2011 (793.47 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter May 2011 (582 KB PDF)
- Farming For a Better Climate Newsletter Dec 2010 (595.68 KB PDF)
Changing Climate, Changing Food
This project has been funded by University Innovation Fund by Scottish Funding Council.
The Changing Climate, Changing Food project has been funded by the University Innovation Fund by the Scottish Funding Council.
In the Changing Climate, Changing Food podcast the changes that people are making to their diets is looked at from the perspective of Scottish agriculture. The series will look at where emissions come from on farms, how farmers have reacted to the increased scrutiny in the media, The role farms can play in mitigation and how food policy and food systems play an important role in achieving net zero. These topics and more are explored through discussions with farmers, researchers, consumers and industry professionals.
What's the beef?
In the first episode of the series ‘Whats the Beef?’ environment consultant Séamus Murphy speaks to Beef specialist Robert Ramsay. Beef has one of the highest carbon footprints of all meat products and has received the most scrutiny in the media because of this. In this discussion, the environmental impacts of beef production are examined as well as the increased scrutiny farming is receiving due to it climate change impact. The difference between beef production in Scotland as opposed to other parts of the world is looked at and what the future might hold for beef.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Not Just a load of hot air!
In this episode SRUC researcher Dr. Alasdair Sykes talks to Séamus Murphy about where emissions come from in a farming system and tackles some of the confusion surrounding methane and soil carbon. Later in the episode environment consultant Iain Boyd talks about some of the impacts climate change will have on farmers ability to produce food in Scotland and how society and farmers are responding to the climate change threat, As well as the impacts COVID 19 might have on our response.
Knowing where our food comes from is something that has become more and more difficult through the years. The disconnect between where we buy our food and the farms that produce it has led to a gradual decline in understanding the links between the farm and the food on our plates. In this episode Chef Neil Forbes from Edinburgh's Cafe St Honoré and Sascha Grierson of Grierson Organics discuss the benefits and value of supporting local producers. The conversation touches on topics such as food waste, organic farming and food education.
Reducing our Carbon Footprint
In this weeks episode the discussion moves towards mitigation, what can be done to reduce the carbon footprint of our food and farms in Scotland. Researcher Alasdair Sykes talks about the science behind mitigation and Professor Davy McCracken of SRUC's hill and mountain research centre speaks about how the science can be practically applied to help us reach our net zero targets.
As our knowledge of climate change grows so too does our awareness of the impacts our food has on the environment. This has led some people to completely cut meat products from their diets, but for the majority of people meat and dairy will still have a place on their plates. In this episode Environmental consultant Séamus Murphy speaks to Ayrshire dairy farmer Bryce Cunningham about his story at Mossgiel Farm and how he has tried to make his business and milk as environmentally friendly as possible.
Paying For Change
The history of financial support for farming and food production is based around the need for countries and governments to produce food to feed their populations. In the last few decades the growing environmental challenges have climbed the ladder to sit alongside food security as a major driver for the worlds policy makers. In Scotland the support farmers receive is going to change, as it looks more and more likely payments will be made off the back of environmental good practice, enhancing biodiversity and reducing the carbon footprint. In this episode Professor Davy McCracken discusses the history and future of policy surrounding agricultural support and NFUS climate change policy manager Ruth Taylor speaks about climate change and the impacts of Brexit, COVID and the green recovery on agriculture.
Seeds of Change
In this weeks episode Séamus Murphy speaks to conservationist and agricultural consultant Mary-Jane Lawrie about the impact climate change is and will continue to have on Scottish farms and biodiversity, with a focus on arable. The discussion also touches on the impact our food choices have on the environment and the effect of Brexit and new trade agreements changing what is on offer in the supermarket.
Sustainable Food Systems
The complexities of agricultures contribution to climate change will require a major shift in farming to ensure we can reach net zero. These are challenges that farmers will need to tackle in the very near future, although there are also questions to be asked of the food system in which farmers are a crucial cog. The creation of a sustainable food system locally and globally could help solve some of the big environmental and social questions that climate change, COVID 19 and Brexit have thrown up. In this episode Environment consultant Séamus Murphy speaks to Pete Ritchie of Nourish Scotland about what a sustainable food system would look like and how change is already on the way.