Suckler Beef Climate Change Group - Farm Carbon Case Studies

J Bell*, CB Beaton, MM McDowell, GJ Hill, DS Stout, AS Sellars, SG Thomson, M Spencer, Andrew P Moxey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/Report/Policy Brief/Technical BriefCommissioned report

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The study supported the work of the Scottish Government’s Suckler Beef Climate Group, chaired by Jim Walker by assessing the potential for carbon emission reductions on ‘Average’ Scottish suckler beef farms through the adoption of a range of technical improvements and carbon mitigation measures. The study used SRUC's AgReCalc carbon foot printing tool.
(ii) In this analysis, work was focused on the Breeder-Finisher units as this farming system encompasses the complete beef production chain from breeding through to slaughter. Details of the main assumptions, data sources and references are included in this report.
(iii) The results of the farming system modelling exercise indicate that by implementing a series of measures, in sequence, there is the potential for Rearer Finisher units to cut carbon emissions by up to 37.6% from the defined baseline level.
(iv) In the sequential or “stacked” scenarios below, the measures which generated the greatest reductions in carbon emissions included:
o Reducing age at slaughter to 18 months,
o Reducing age at first calving from 3yrs to 2yrs,
o Improving grassland management,
o Use of nitrification inhibitors in artificial fertiliser.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Scottish Government
Commissioning bodyScottish Government
Number of pages51
Publication statusFirst published - 18 Jan 2021


  • AgReCalc
  • Greenhouse gas emission
  • Suckler beef
  • Suckler Beef Climate Group
  • rearer-finisher
  • emissions reductions
  • reduced age at first calving
  • finishing age
  • calves reared
  • methane inhibitors
  • N2O and CH4 emission
  • heifers
  • reduced cow weight
  • grassland management
  • manure and nutrient management
  • bull beef
  • carbon footprint
  • beef efficiency
  • targeted actions


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