SCOTLAND’S agricultural sector can comfortably reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third by 2045, according to a new independent report.

Published today, Delivering On Net Zero: Scottish Agriculture will highlights the most important mitigation measures which can be made on a farm level with little or no land-use change.

The study by Organic Policy, Business and Research Consultancy, commissioned by WWF Scotland, includes suggestions of measures to improve nitrogen fertiliser use, animal health and breeding, as well as rotational grazing and using legumes to fix nitrogen.

It also identifies system-level changes which could deliver significant carbon savings, including a shift to organic production, agro-forestry (integrating trees in farms) and conservation agriculture (with a focus on soil health and plant diversity).

A separate report by ecological consultancy firm Ecosulis found that the extreme weather of 2017/18 alone is estimated to have cost Scottish farmers £161 million due to livestock losses and lower crop yield.

To help farmers adapt to our changing climate, WWF is calling on the Scottish Government to review the policy and support framework required to secure a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and maximise the carbon removed from the atmosphere and locked up in our soils and plants.

This is essential if Scotland is to meet net-zero emissions by 2045, according to the charity. There are opportunities in the forthcoming Budget, the Agriculture Bill currently before Parliament, and the revision to the Climate Plan in 2020, to put in place new support mechanisms for climate-friendly farming.

Dr Sheila George, food and environment policy manager at WWF Scotland said: “Agriculture is at risk from a changing climate but can be part of the climate solution – our land is our biggest natural defence against climate change and farmers and other land managers have a key role in protecting it.

“We need to produce food in a way that reduces emissions and locks up more carbon. By adapting our farming methods, Scotland could be at the forefront of the global transition to climate-friendly farming with unique export and branding opportunities arising.”