MANAGING CARBON ON OUR FARMS
On 24th June, the Farmer Network held an on-line event on the theme of “Managing Carbon on our Farms” with speakers, CLA Land Use Adviser Alice Ritchie, and Becky Willson of the Farm Carbon Toolkit.
The event drew widespread interest from the farming community and industry advisors. Alice Ritchie began the meeting by discussing climate change and how this affects farming through high rainfall events and drought. She also touched on changes in diet, the growth of veganism and reduction in meat consumption.
The amount of Green House Gases (GHG) emitted by agriculture is 14.5% globally but only 10% of UK emissions and Alice went on to explain the ways in which farming can achieve net zero by 2050. This includes increasing efficiency, planting more trees and hedgerows, along with grazing management. There may also be opportunities for farmers to offer carbon offsetting to large businesses such as the airline industry.
The second speaker was Becky Willson from the Farm Carbon Toolkit. Becky explained how the Toolkit works for measuring carbon and other Greenhouse Gas emissions on-farm. Livestock farmers can reduce their carbon emissions by increasing animal performance e.g. through improving feed conversion rates, soil and fertiliser management and decreasing fuel use such as using minimum tillage. She stressed that the key to improving carbon storage is through increasing soil organic matter, retaining permanent pasture using over-seeding to improve grasses and introducing legumes such as clover.
Questions and comments after the presentations included a discussion about regenerative agriculture and the potential for farmers to be paid for increasing the carbon stored in soils.
The Farmer Network is trying to encourage farmers to participate in on-line events whilst it is not possible to hold face to face meetings. The next event is on Thursday 2nd July on the topic of the wool market – for more details, contact Carol Moffat of the Farmer Network on 015396 21602 or 07917 666514 and more details can be found at https://www.thefarmernetwork.co.uk/events/.