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.

4. Overall scheme aims and objectives

The SBCS aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from Scottish suckler beef herds by encouraging the uptake of new management practices and/or changes to existing ones. This includes the provision of part-funding towards appropriate capital items and training as part of the scheme and, where possible, further aims to ensure that the adopted measures can help to mitigate other environmental impacts, particularly through a focus on soil health, and nutrient and grassland management.

This will be achieved by focusing on the following two key outcomes:

  • To reduce the emissions intensity of suckler beef systems by improving on-farm production and greenhouse gas efficiencies through better input and resource utilisation
  • To maintain and, where possible, enhance soil carbon storage, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farmland through better soil and grassland management on suckler beef farming units

Improving the efficiency of on-farm production systems and associated business and resource management is widely known to be key to achieving optimum production outputs and with it greater profitability and business resilience. Efficiencies can be assessed and obtained at different levels but generally involve better targeting and utilisation of inputs and on-farm resources. This enables businesses to either increase the level of output per unit of input, or to maintain given outputs from reduced inputs by minimising wastage.

Efficiency gains and better input utilisation can be achieved by monitoring and recording cattle performance and other key variables within the production system as this can ultimately help businesses to better target inputs for an improved soil, crop or animal response, and to minimise input wastage. The collated information furthermore enables for more informed and effective decision-making to take place with regards to general business and enterprise management or production-based aspects such as breeding, feeding, and animal health. This will ultimately lead to better livestock performance, enhanced enterprise productivity and profitability, and increased business resilience.

More importantly however, such improvements to on-farm efficiencies can also achieve significant reductions in total greenhouse gas emissions from the production system, and lower the emissions intensity of the outputs.

Further reductions of on-farm net greenhouse gas emissions can be delivered by adjusting or introducing specific on-farm soil and grassland management to protect and maintain existing soil carbon stores and, where possible, actively capture carbon from the environment and the cattle production system for long-term soil carbon sequestration.



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