Diversification of farm business will help it adapt to the effects of climate change
Climate change presents many challenges for farming communities and will mean a change in farming methods.
Increased summer droughts and milder winters, as well as increases in extreme weather events and flooding, mean that there is a need to consider issues such as pest and disease control, what type of crop variety to grow, and the effects of unpredictable weather on harvest times and produce quality.
The changing climate can, however, provide business opportunities, such as expanding into new markets. Where agriculture is no longer feasible, woodlands can help diversify farm income and provide alternative land uses.
Contribution to emissions
The Scottish Government has a target of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Scottish farming contributes 13% of total Scottish emissions and will be expected to contribute to the proposed reduction in greenhouse gases.
(For more details of the 13% figure, see the Scottish Agricultural College website.)
Improving your farm’s carbon credentials
Incorporating woodland into your farm can lower carbon emissions, help you reduce your costs, and strengthen your business by ensuring it adapts to the effects of climate change.
Planting trees can help control soil erosion, not only benefiting your land but also helping to lock carbon into the soil and vegetation.
Woodfuel is a significant growth industry. The government is offering incentives and funding for growing trees to be used as woodfuel.
Along with the economic opportunities, woodfuel also presents a major opportunity for reducing energy costs and carbon emissions on your farm. Burning wood for heating and power is an efficient, low carbon alternative to burning gas and oil, while the carbon released when burning wood is recaptured by growing replacement trees.
There is funding available for renewable energy developments. For information and advice on woodfuel go to www.usewoodfuel.co.uk.
The Scottish Agricultural College also has information woodfuel heating at www.sac.ac.uk/consulting/services/f-h/farmdiversification/database/renewableenergy/woodfuel
Forestry Commission Scotland is conducting trials into growing woodfuel-specific crops through short rotation forestry/coppicing. See energy forestry exemplar trials.
The Scottish Agricultural College provides good advice on how the farming industry can help tackle climate changes: www.sac.ac.uk/climatechange/farmingforabetterclimate/
Information and advice for helping your farm business in a changing economic and environmental climate: