Warning Scots farmers need  to adapt to climate change

Conservation group WWF wants to see the sector adopt more 'nature-friendly' methods such as mob grazing.

It’s warned Scottish agriculture needs a complete “systems change” in order to adapt to the warming climate.

That’s the warning from conservation group WWF, which is urging the sector to adopt “nature-friendly” farming methods.

It insists they can help farmers stay profitable.

“Every farm is different, every farm is going to do something different,” said the organisation’s Agriculture and Land Use Policy Manager, Ruth Taylor.

“It’s not for me to prescribe what farmers do and don’t do.

“What we would love to see is, across the board, measures that work for individual farms, but work more similarly as to what is happening here.

“This year is a crucial opportunity for the Scottish Government. I

“I think the Scottish Government needs to take every available opportunity it’s presented with to be much more bold, much more ambitious with the policy it’s creating.

“To make sure all farms across Scotland can implement nature-friendly measures.”

Fife farmer Johnnie Balfour has moved away from more traditional methods of cattle grazing.

Instead of allowing his cows to roam one large field, he places them into paddocks, moving them onto to a fresh part of grass every day.

“I don’t think it’s radical at all. Mob grazing to me makes sense because it grows more grass, more cheaply,” he said.

“We used to put fertiliser on our grass, but because we’re leaving it to rest for longer, we don’t need to.”

But industry leaders say nature-friendly changes are already happening.

“The industry is moving extremely fast, and I don’t think it’s being recognised,” said NFU Scotland President, Martin Kennedy.

“The advantages of fantastic technology, the soil analysis; looking at what we have in our soils.

“Paying attention to what we have to do going forward in terms of climate change adaptation.

“We’re seeing that already as an industry. But we can’t have a cliff-edge scenario, where we lose what we’ve got, which is really concerning.”

In response to calls for more Scottish Government action, a spokesperson said: “We are already helping them to cut emissions and farm with nature through our Agricultural Reform Programme.

“We have also announced changes to farm payments from 2025 that will help make farm businesses more efficient too.

“The Scottish Government provides £550 million support every year for farm and rural businesses and communities.

“Support is also available to help farmers and crofters to manage their land in a more environmentally friendly way through the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS), to plant trees and create woodland through the Forestry Grant Scheme, to protect and restore peatland through Peatland ACTION, to farm more for nature through the Nature Restoration Fund.”

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