The SAC carried out a recent carbon audit on the farm which has proved to be satisfactory and demonstrates that an upland livestock farm carrying a 700 breeding flock of sheep, a suckler herd of 150 cows and a pedigree herd of 109 Charolais cows with 172 followers, can capture more carbon than it produces, despite the misleading propaganda from the vegan lobby and other fellow travellers.
As we are essentially self-sufficient by growing most of our own feed, the only real weakness in our system is the need to buy so much straw from our arable neighbours at far too high a price.
It does not seem long ago that a box of matches was the usual solution to straw left in the bout after harvest on an arable farm but now that it is being sold to burn in electricity generating stations, it is becoming too expensive for the livestock farmers very limited budget.
Using it for feed and bedding must be a greener use than burning it and adding to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The FYM when the cattle courts are cleared continues to massively improve the texture of our soil at Balthayock and replaces the P&K from artificial fertiliser which we would otherwise be forced to use. That combined with ample clover in our grazing and silage fields has hugely reduced our artificial fertiliser bill but sadly not the cost of purchasing and processing the straw from our neighbour’s farms to well-rotted FYM spread on the fields by our local contractor.
The audit calculated that the farm absorbs 740 of tonnes of carbon a year which offsets the carbon produced by 400 Scottish people!
There are improvements to be made but this is a very satisfactory start and strong evidence to prove the livestock industries critics wrong.