Torr is a 389 ha organic dairy farm run by brother and sister team Ross and Lee Paton. It is one of four Scottish ’Climate Change Focus Farms’ working with SAC as part of the Scottish Government-funded ’Farming for a Better Climate’ initiative (FFBC). The Focus Farms consider and test ways of improving their efficiency and reducing emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. They share these ideas, and take suggestion on board, during regular meetings with SAC and others in their local farming communities.
The Minister toured Torr with the Patons, their SAC FFBC project facilitator Gillian Reid and SAC Climate Change Manager Rebecca Audsley. He saw and heard how the Patons have introduced a number of measures which, while helping to reduce the farm’s emissions, have also saved the business money.
For example, steps have been taken to make better use of organic manure and improve livestock management efficiency. Energy use has been reviewed and is now monitored. As an organic farm, Torr’s increased use of clover to fix nitrogen in the soil has also been an advantage but this, like the other practices Torr has introduced, can also reap significant benefits on conventional farms.
|Stewart Stevenson, Ross Paton|
and Dr Bob Rees
Stewart Stevenson said:
"Torr Farm clearly demonstrates that farmers are part of the solution to tackling climate change. Emissions from agriculture and related land use are estimated at 20% of Scotland’s total. The agriculture sector recognises it has an important role to play to tackle emissions, and that is why we are working in collaboration with the industry through the voluntary Farming for a Better Climate initiative.
"The Scottish Government has also recently announced plans for an Agri-Renewables Strategy to help farmers and land managers grasp the benefit of the renewables revolution sweeping Scotland.
"Farming for a Better Climate has had a great response from those involved, and results will inform future policy decisions. Practical steps can be taken, such as making efficiency savings when using energy and fuels, which not only helps the environment, but makes financial sense too.
"I was particularly impressed to see the simple ’ but very effective ’ approach to better energy use on Torr Farm. After a farm energy audit identified large energy consumption in the milking parlour, some straight forward measures, such as extra insulation, were taken. A smart meter which monitors energy use every half-hour is now in place, so Torr Farm can see exactly where further efficiencies can be made."
SAC’s Gillian Reid said:
"The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target to reduce Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Agriculture and related activity accounts for around 20% of Scotland’s overall emissions so farmers have an important role to play. As a Climate Change Focus Farm, Torr is at the centre of this effort and we were delighted to show the Minister what has been achieved over the past year. Ross and Lee have been very enthusiastic about the project and have been keen to implement new ideas."
Ross Paton said:
"We were very pleased to welcome the Minister onto Torr and to have discussed the various measures we have put into practice. We have learned many things from our first year and are looking forwards to exploring further measures that will improve our efficiency and reduce emissions."
Farming For a Better Climate webpages.