GrassToGas: Strategies to mitigate GHG emissions from pasture-based sheep systems

The aim of this project is to combine international scientific and industry expertise to generate new knowledge and applied solutions for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in sheep.

GrassToGas will identify individual animal, feed and environmental attributes associated with feed and water intake efficiency for pasture-based sheep production systems. The potential impact would be relevant for the mitigation of GHG emissions within 5-10 years and beyond, by the application of the results from this project into sheep breeding programmes designed to produce cumulative reductions of GHG emissions of around 1-3% per year.

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PAC chamber funding

SRUC has recently secured funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to purchase portable accumulation chambers (PACs) to measure greenhouse GHD emissions from individual sheep.

PACs can be used to rapidly measure methane and other gas emissions and can be used to predict methane emissions and feed intake in individual sheep from a variety of systems (including at pasture) and locations, since it is portable. PACs are aluminium boxes, approximately 1m long, that house individual sheep for short periods of time (~ 50 minutes). Air samples are collected during this time and methane concentration can be analysed.

We know that there is variation in the amount of GHG emitted by individual animals and this, in part, is under genetic control. By including measurements of GHG emissions in structured breeding programmes, using the information generated via the PACs, it will be possible to breed lower GHG-emitting sheep in the future.

Partnership event with GEFI

The Scottish Forum on Natural Capital is to be a partner with Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) who are organising a satellite event at Ross Priory, Loch Lomond during COP26. The working group of the Forum, the Scottish Conservation Finance Pioneers (led by Scottish Wildlife Trust, SEPA, SRUC, NatureScot, and Scottish Forestry) have developed the programme, including a podcast, and a number of videos highlighting the work of the network. Another video will feature animation, and tell the story of the Scottish Conservation Finance Pioneers’ network, from their inception in 2020.

You can register for the event for 4 and 5 November. We hope that you will be able to join us online as attendees at the event.

You can also become a member of the Conservation Finance Pioneers’, it's open to anyone with an interest in conservation finance in Scotland.

Farming for a Better Climate

Farming for a Better Climate, funded by Scottish Government and delivered by SAC Consulting, works with farmers and land managers to provide practical ideas to improve farm efficiency and reduce the farm carbon footprint.

Following on from working with volunteer focus farmers and their discussion groups, the initiative is currently working with five farmers in the north east of Scotland exploring regenerative agricultural techniques.

Beginning 26 days from the start of COP26, Farming for a Better Climate will be featuring short, daily videos from farmers across Scotland, highlighting one of the ways they are reducing emissions and rising to the climate change challenge through the #26days26ways campaign. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter or read more on our Farming for a Better Climate website.

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A leading agricultural resource efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions calculator developed by SAC Consulting and SRUC.

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