Fresh Ayr

Published Monday, 7th May 2018 in SAC Consulting news

John kerr woodhead
John Kerr, who will be speaking at Ayr County Show, at Woodhead Farm

Farming For a Better Climate showcased at County Show.

A local dairy farmer will be appearing at this week’s Ayr County Show to explain how the adoption of environmentally friendly methods, such as a biomass boiler and better use of fertilisers, has saved him around £63,000. These measures also helped the farm reduce its carbon footprint by 6 per cent.

John Kerr of Woodhead Farm, near Newmilns in Ayrshire, is part of the Scottish Government’s Farming For a Better Climate project, which is delivered by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

His 180-cow dairy farm is one of nine focus farms across Scotland which demonstrate best practice for saving money and reducing their carbon footprint.

During a reception at the Farming For a Better Climate Stand at Ayr County Show, Rebecca Audsley, Environment Team Leader at SAC Consulting, will be asking John about the range of measures he has introduced at Woodhead. These include:

  • Installation of a biomass boiler to produce heat from woodchip has reduced electricity use by 32 per cent per year
  • Making more use of the smaller tractor on the feed wagon, saving around 4,400 litres of fuel per year
  • Nutrient budgeting saving around £5,000 in fertiliser costs
  • Improvements to cow housing ventilation and light levels have been made by removing some of the side sheets from the cubicle shed.  Now lighting can be switched off during the day to save electricity and the cows have well-ventilated accommodation, reducing disease risk

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “Farming For a Better Climate is the Scottish Government’s low carbon farming flagship programme and I would like to thank John Kerr and his family for the fantastic work they have done, and hope that they continue to reap the benefits for many years to come.

“The work demonstrated on Woodhead Farm showcases the win-win scenario that can be achieved for both farm businesses and the environment through maximising efficiency. This is evident in the £5,000 that has been saved through the testing of soils and careful nutrient management. I would encourage all farmers to take a few minutes to look at the guides and case studies that FFBC has produced, because as John has shown, low carbon farming is not only good for the planet it can be good for your pocket as well.”

Rebecca Audsley said: “John and his family have looked across the business and made a number of changes to the way they have done things in the past.  Sometimes these changes can seem quite small on their own, but as we have seen over the course of the project, most are cumulative and continue to save the business money and carbon on an ongoing basis leaving John with a healthy cash saving and reducing the farm carbon footprint.”

Farmers can access more information on ways to reduce the farm carbon footprint and activities on the focus farms at www.farmingforabetterclimate.org. The initiative also promotes practical measures via a Facebook page and Twitter account @SACfarm4climate.

Ayr County Show takes place at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 12 May (9am-5pm). For tickets, go to www.ayrcountyshow.co.uk

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