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Andrew and Seonag Barbour with their daughter Catherine
ANDREW Barbour reckons his natural farm on the hills close to Pitlochry has not solely hit the sought-after net-zero determine, it’s truly a web sequester of carbon.
“Our beef and lamb is in truth carbon adverse,” he mentioned.
Alongside together with his spouse, Seonag, he has been on the forefront of revolutionary farming in Scotland by going again to the previous to safeguard the long run. Their change of route started round 20 years in the past after they needed to plant extra timber however not lose any farmland.
“We realised a wooden pasture would give the animals shelter and the advantage of early grass as the cover offers it shelter,” mentioned Andrew. “You may have grass progress superior by two or three weeks and that in early Might and the top of April may be very vital.”
He identified that wooden pasture was used for lots of of years earlier than farming grew to become industrialised.
“It’s nonetheless very extremely considered the tree is immediately placing carbon into floor, the roots enhance drainage and the leaf litter improves organic exercise in soils. From the animal perspective it is vitally good for welfare as a result of it offers shelter in sizzling climate in addition to dangerous climate.”
Andrew mentioned that whereas reducing methane is vital, the “eat higher” a part of the “eat much less, eat higher meat” slogan seems to be getting misplaced.
“We want to suppose we’re one instance of consuming higher,” he mentioned.
A carbon audit has discovered that round 180 tonnes of CO2 are sequestered yearly by the 30 hectares of wooden pasture on the farm, whereas the soils are absorbing round 150 tonnes of CO2 every year. The Barbours intend to extend their wooden pasture to additional CO2 absorption.
A part of the Bonskeid Property, Mains of Fincastle is at 1000 to 1500ft, with 70% of the land designated for its excessive nature worth, and runs 50 suckler cows and 350 sheep.
The farm is managed on an intensive, low enter system which is these days described as an agro-ecological method.
Clover is used as the primary supply of nitrogen, fairly than dangerous synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, and there’s no pointless ploughing as a direct seed drill is used to keep up a residing floor cowl, with a wide range of vegetation current within the sward.
Additionally they use rotational grazing to permit relaxation intervals within the flower wealthy grasslands.
“Some would suppose our fields are filled with weeds however having that numerous flora offers a way more balanced weight loss plan for the animals,” mentioned Andrew. “Fashionable standard grass fields have very low species range and the grasses have been bred to reply to excessive ranges of chemical nitrogen fertiliser. I might say that’s most likely our greatest drawback in farming as a result of it pollutes habitats, together with water.
“Everybody talks about methane however methane is a short-lived gas and what issues is whether or not your ranges are rising or falling, whereas nitrous oxide is like carbon dioxide and simply consistently builds within the ambiance.”
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source : Organic Scots beef