The Isle of Arran could help serve as a blueprint for Scottish agriculture to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, says Scotland’s Rural College (SRC).

Farmers on the island are working together to try to reduce their carbon footprint by using a consulting tool to measure methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions.

A group of 15 farmers led by the SRC-supported Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS), are using the AgreCalc consulting tool from SRC to audit their emissions, as well as the carbon they are sequestering into the farmed landscape.

They are led by Alexander Pirie of SRC, who said: “My hope is we can reduce the carbon footprint of the island if we can quantify it and that by identifying common areas for improvement, we can take a collaborative approach.

“By tackling issues around farm efficiency and best practice as well as the environment and climate change, with an emphasis on building strong local community engagement, Arran could contribute is some small way to the solution for Scotland as a whole.”

Alexander will help co-ordinate the actions.

He said: “Common areas for improvement are things like fertiliser applications, increasing lambing percentages, fertility MOTs for breeding potential and increasing biodiversity on farms.”

David Henderson farms beef and sheep at Kilpatrick Farm on Arran.

He said: “I have done our carbon audits and our emissions were good partly due to our stocking rates. But I’m in the group to learn.

“We know that future farm programmes will be based around carbon footprints, whether we like it or not, so the question is, how do we adapt?

“Farmers need to work together more, and be more open about the good and the bad.”

Alexander and David will be among the speakers in a free online RISS workshop – Futureproof your Farm – taking place on May 20, 9.30-11.30am.

The workshop is designed to help farmers develop business ideas in response to COVID-19 and climate change.