Farm-level Interventions to Reduce Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions

10th January 2022

by Yvonne Rees, Rebecca Mason, Ann Ballinger, Tanzir Chowdhury

This report, which was commissioned by a partnership between WWF-UK and Tesco and delivered with Innovation for Agriculture, explores the main sources of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, outlines interventions farmers can take to reduce these, and outlines policy measures to remove barriers to the implementation of these interventions.

According to the CC’S Sixth Carbon Budget, agricultural emissions are responsible for around 10% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. The key sources of these emissions are enteric fermentation (occurs in the digestion process of ruminant livestock), agricultural soils, wastes and manure management, mobile and stationary farm machinery and other. This breakdown does not include the impact of occupying land for agricultural use. Addressing land use issues requires a global perspective as large areas of land overseas are required to support aspects of UK agriculture, such as growing soy for animal feed.

The report lists interventions under 3 categories:

  • Potential easy wins
  • More challenging
  • Further research needed

Within these categories, three high-impact big hitters emerged:

  • Feed additives for ruminants to reduce methane;
  • Novel animal feed alternatives that reduce land use; and
  • On-farm food waste reduction.

The report made a series of key recommendations to remove barriers to the implementation of the outlined interventions, including:

  • Developing more holistic GHG emissions accounting;
  • Accelerating targeted R&D to deliver ‘big hitter’ interventions;
  • Providing robust, impartial, consistent and tailored advice to farmers on how to reduce GHG emissions;
  • Providing financial incentives to reduce GHG emissions;
  • Ensuring open access to data; and
  • Working together to deliver system change and encourage sustainable consumer attitudes to food.

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and provide a few details about yourself to access the download.