Farm Business Survey 2021-22: Farm level emissions and nitrogen usage

Farm level emissions and nitrogen usage data from the Scottish Farm Business Survey. An Experimental Statistics publication for Scotland.

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Key findings:

  • New estimates show that greenhouse gas emissions have remained stable for the average Scottish farm over the last three years. These new results are based on commercial sized farms in the Farm Business Survey.
  • Results also estimate nitrogen balance, the amount of nitrogen that might be lost to the environment. The average farm nitrogen balance in 2021 is lower than the first estimate made in 2019.

Our visual summary provides an overview of average greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen use by farm type.

All data tables are available to download under supporting documents.

This report provides greenhouse gas emission estimates and nitrogen use estimates for the average Scottish farm over the last three years.

These data complement national level estimates and enterprise specific estimates by providing a view and timeseries of emissions and nitrogen use on real farms. Farms are complex businesses with multiple enterprises that contribute to GHG emissions. For example, cereal farms may have livestock and the scale of this secondary enterprise can vary.

Data do not cover the full agricultural industry and are not comparable with national estimates. Estimates for the whole industry and at Scotland level are available through Scottish Greenhouse Gas Statistics and the Scottish Nitrogen Balance Sheet.

This analysis is based on a survey of around 400 commercial farms (whose standard output exceeds around £20,000 per year). The sample excludes farm types not in receipt of support payments (such as pigs, poultry and horticulture). The survey sample is weighted using results from the 2021 June Agricultural Census.

On-farm gross emissions are estimated using a life cycle assessment (LCA) based carbon calculator (Agrecalc). They do not account for any sequestration by woodland areas or soil. Nitrogen estimates are based on standard estimates of nitrogen content in all farm inputs and outputs where possible. Nitrogen estimates are not included for organic farms, which means a small proportion of the sample are excluded.

These data are designated as experimental statistics. They are newly developed statistics undergoing testing. More information is available in Data sources and more information.


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