Farm Carbon Storage Network
This project seeks to raise awareness of the value of carbon stored on farms through the establishment of a Farm Carbon Storage Network.
Funded by the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF), 5 farms were selected to participate in this phase. The carbon stock on each representative farm was estimated by combining soil testing and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) aerial surveys. The information shared from this network will enable farmers across the country to estimate their own carbon storage and to ignite ideas for increasing carbon sequestration on farms.
Why is it important?
Farmers are increasingly aware of their need to help to tackle the climate crisis, through a combination of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing sequestration of carbon dioxide on farms. A farm’s soils, trees and hedges act as a carbon sink which can be difficult to quantify, however technology can help us improve the accuracy of these estimated carbon stocks. This project quantified the value of these natural assets in terms of their carbon storage, establishing a baseline for future monitoring. The results help to deliver a better understanding of the impact and importance of certain farm habitats and identify management strategies that could be employed to enhance them.
How are we doing this?
An active farm carbon storage network has been created which initially focuses on 5 farms from the most common farming systems across Scotland - Beef and Sheep, Dairy, Arable and Crofting. Accurate measurement and mapping of the above-ground biomass and soil organic carbon is a critical component of carbon stock quantification. Using an innovative approach which combined the use of LiDAR surveys and soil testing, a reliable estimation of above ground carbon storage in hedges and trees and estimated soil organic carbon stocks will be calculated for each of the farms.
The initial Farm Carbon Storage Network consists of the following participants:
- Auchmore Farm – Beef and sheep
- Easter Bavelaw Farm – Sheep
- Auchinbay Farm – Dairy
- Kilkenneth Croft - Crofting
- Mains of Balgavies Farm – Arable
This project is the first of its kind in Scotland. It provides a quantitative value on the farms natural assets that will benefit the maintenance and enhancement for climate and biodiversity action while increasing the knowledge base of farmers, policymakers and the general public.
Findings and case studies of this project are published below.
An upland beef and sheep farm managed by Stephen and Sheena Mackenzie. The farm sits to the west of Muir of Ord in Easter Ross and has a varied topography with an elevation change of 270m starting in the hard hill in the west, transitioning to upland grazing and improved grassland as it moves closer to the east. The farm contains a range of habitats from peatlands to mature and new native woodlands, and mature conifer belts.
Easter Bavelaw Farm
A sheep farm located to the southwest of Edinburgh in the Pentland Hills. Managed by Graham and Becci Barr, the site consists of a mixture of extensively grazed hill ground and improved pasture in the lower reaches.
A dairy farm managed by Davie and Gillian Morton. Located in east Ayrshire, one of Scotland’s prime dairy regions, the farm consists of improved grassland with a mixture of grazing and silage fields. The farm boasts extensive hedgerows of varying quality from monoculture broken beech hedges, to diverse natural hedges and mature riparian woodland habitats.
Located on the western coast of Tiree, Kilkenneth Croft is run by Morven and Archie MacArthur, producing beef cows and sheep. The croft has a significant proportion of machair, a vital habitat for biodiversity on the west coast of Scotland and some areas of peaty soil further inland.
Mains of Balgavies Farm
An arable farm located in some of Scotland’s prime agricultural land just east of Forfar. Managed by Jack Carnegy and Tom Sampson, land use is predominantly arable with some areas of improved grassland. Large areas of woodland are spread out across the farm consisting of mixed mature woodlands, with an array of hedgerows along the field boundaries introduced in the last 20 years.
This report provides an overview of the methodology used to quantify soil carbon stock and above-ground biomass carbon stock.
More about our work
Drones take carbon project to next level
Environmental specialists at SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), are using drone-mounted LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors to estimate above-ground carbon storage in hedges and trees.