Farmers need help with carbon measurement

26th January 2022 | Environment, Farm Business, Surveys

Over half the farmers in the UK and Ireland don’t know how to measure carbon on their units, with three quarters not knowing who to trust to perform this service. These are the findings of a survey undertaken by the National Farm Research Unit (NFRU) in the run up to last November’s COP26 Climate Change summit in Glasgow.

The NFRU, a Map of Ag business, interviewed 911 farmers across the UK and Republic of Ireland during November 2021, to find out how many are measuring and acting to mitigate their carbon emissions. The market research business extrapolated the data to industry scale through its Farm Structures Model.

The survey found that 10% of all UK farms are already measuring carbon, with 25% saying they are looking into it.

Some sectors have a higher take-up – especially dairy where there are more aligned contracts with retailers. NFRU found 22% of dairy farms already measure carbon with 31% seeking more information on how to do it. Larger scale arable units (200ha+) were more likely to be engaged: 26% of this subset were already measuring carbon with a further 12% looking into it.

Almost three quarters of the whole sample said they did not know who to trust to help them measure their carbon, with few emerging leaders to provide that expertise. Of the other 25%, just 7% would measure carbon themselves or within the family, with the remainder citing a range of third parties from independent consultants and agronomists to academic institutions, retailers, buyers and NGOs.

OF the weighted poll, more than six thousand farms expected the government to pay for carbon measurement services, with over five thousand expecting to foot the bill themselves.

“The research shows that farmers need help with measuring carbon,” comments Map of Ag chief commercial officer Julian Gairdner. “That’s why we are evaluating a range of carbon models to help farmers and agrifood businesses understand how the tools can work for them.

Map of Ag has branded its global digital agriculture platform as Pure Farming. It says the data platform connects farmers and the agrifood sector using a highly trusted and permissioned data management engine to allow farmers to control their data while driving productivity, efficiency, transparency and Net Zero.