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Profitable ideas we can all benefit from

From a couple of thousand pounds to over £60,000 with no loss of production, our volunteer Climate Change Focus Farms were able to save money through taking a second look at current practices and making small tweaks to routine jobs.

Making best use of inputs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions too, leading to a lower carbon footprint.

The focus farmers, located across Scotland, were already technically efficient but looked at other ways to make better use of energy and renewables or improvements in livestock management.  Farm soils and nutrient management was an area where most were able to make financial savings.  Ideas worth reviewing include:

  • Check your soils. A more thorough look at your soils could reveal a range of issues including compaction, poor drainage and/or lack of earthworms, compromising grass or crop production.  The “Valuing your Soils” brochure (containing information on Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure—the VESS guide) is a good starting point.
  • Regularly test soils. Knowing soil nutrient status and pH value will help you better target and manage nutrients, both in slurry, manures and bought-in fertiliser.
  • Check nutrient value in slurry and manure. Nutrient content in slurry and manures can differ based on a number of factors.  It’s worth knowing what you’ve got.
  • Create and use a nutrient management plan. This will help you make more cost-effective use of fertilisers on the farm.The agrecalc logo - a white background with the word 'agrecalc', above which is an infinity sign with two leaves incorporated to the upper left and lower right points where the lines would meet.  The entire logo text is in black.

Could you save money or improve productivity?  A carbon audit will help you compare your performance with similar farms, suggesting areas where you could make savings.  The focus farms used the free AgRE Calc program at www.agrecalc.com.  Help is also available via www.fas.scot

Rebecca Audsley, Climate Change Manager, SAC Consulting

This article from Farming for a Better Climate was funded by the Scottish Government as part of Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service www.fas.scot and first published within the Farming Scotland Magazine in May 2019