Suckler Beef Climate Scheme: final report

Final report from the Suckler Beef Climate Group on development and delivery recommendations for sustainable suckler beef production in Scotland.

9. Emissions abatement modelling

The scheme will need to be able to capture the emissions abatement potential of different management options and specific on-farm activities and management changes. This relies on robust and reliable data that is relevant to suckler beef production within a Scottish setting. To this end, the scheme will be drawing on emissions and emissions abatement modelling conducted by J. Bell et al. (2020)[104] specifically for the SBCS. The modelling uses real data drawn from the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) to establish a profile of typical average herd data and performance, with due consideration also being given to the range of such performance as this can provide an important indication of the extent to which Scottish suckler beef producers can realistically be expected to improve their herd performances.

The study is an ongoing project and has so far produced an extremely comprehensive and detailed model aimed at capturing current greenhouse gas emissions data on an average rearer finisher unit.

Where possible, the modelling data has been used as reference point within this report to indicate potential emissions savings that can be gained within different management options. If the scenarios are stacked to assess the cumulative benefits of the modelled changes, the study shows that there may be a potential to reduce emissions per unit of output by almost 40% on baseline emissions for a typical average rearer finisher herd. Although not all measures may be applicable to every rearer finisher system in Scotland or to the same extent, they provide an extremely important starting point and quite clearly highlight the potential within Scottish suckler beef enterprises to curb emissions.

The next steps within this emissions modelling study include the development of similar models for other types of suckler beef systems that can typically be found across Scotland, including store producers and finisher units. Although their levels of emissions will vary from a rearer finisher unit, as will the availability of measures to achieve significant efficiency gains and emissions reductions, this initial model captures the whole primary production process from birth to slaughter, and hence includes a large dataset of useful information that is applicable to both breeding herds and forward store/finishing units.



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