A new web-basedtool for farmers needing to know how efficiently they are using resources hasbeen launched by the consulting division of Scotlands Rural College. The SACConsulting AgRECalc programme, which in its simple form will be will beavailable free to all Scottish farmers, will also help them reduce greenhousegas emissions.
The new productwas launched during the announcement in Edinburgh of the next phase of theScottish Governments Farming for a Better Climate initiative by CabinetSecretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead MSP. Senior Business Consultantwith SAC Consulting Julian Bell said:
Lookingahead, farmers are going to have to produce more food, with fewer resources andless environmental impact. We have developed AgRE Calc to help them measuretheir use of resources and carbon emissions across the whole farm, a particularenterprise or even by product. The data farmers will need is already availablefrom things like IACS submissions, livestock records, invoices and sales.
The toolhas been developed by SRUC over a number of years with input from staff in bothSAC Consulting and Research divisions. This ensures it can be updated asscience develops. There is already enough data in the system to allow users tobenchmark their own farms against similar ones and as more farmers use AgRECalc this will enrich the database making the tool even more representative ofScottish and UK farms.
The systemgenerates key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the electricity used per cow or red diesel consumption per hectare, says Julian. It also allowsyou to pinpoint any wasteful hot spots in your business so you can takeaction to improve efficiency and cut costs.
It is theonly such tool that encompasses all typical farm enterprises, from livestock tofruit and vegetables, the system operates to internationally recognised standards(IPCC and PAS 2050). This provides assurance that the greenhouse gas emissionsare calculated in a consistent way across the industry.
Accordingto Julian Bell while the basic system will be available free on the web, inorder to fund re-investment in the service, SRUC will eventually charge forthose needing more detailed benchmark data and group comparisons.
We canpromise that farmers wanting to calculate their carbon footprint every yearwill have free access to AgRE Calc to ensure they can monitor their progress incutting emissions and improving technical efficiency. But in addition, untilthe end of this year, any farmer joining the scheme will also get free accessto the additional features. These include more in-depth benchmarking and what if comparisons.
Any farmerwanting more information about AgRE Calc should contact their local SACConsulting office.