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Research Impact

Greenhouse gases, including those from agricultural systems, lead to global warming which contributes to rising sea levels and climate problems. The ability to monitor greenhouse gas emissions is critical to understanding the sources of emission and how to better control them. 

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has a strong record of engagement with the farming industry, the agricultural supply chain and associated regulatory bodies. It has built on this to develop a programme of research that addresses national and international policy priorities and supports the move to a low carbon economy. 

SRUC’s contributions include playing a leading role in the Greenhouse Gas Platform Programme. The programme sought to improve the accuracy and resolution of the UK’s reporting system by providing new evidence on the factors affecting emissions, and statistics relevant to the country’s changing farming practices. It led to a UK specific method of calculating methane and nitrous oxide emissions, enabling the accurate forecasting and monitoring of performance against target emissions reductions set by the UK and Scottish Governments’ Climate Change Acts. 

Research undertaken at SRUC has also contributed to the development of a tool for presenting carbon emissions abatement options in agricultural settings. SRUC’s most recent work has provided new evidence on the abatement potential of precision farming, the increased use of legumes in farming systems, and the more widespread uptake of nitrification and urease (enzyme) inhibitors. 

SRUC has been involved in major international research collaborations in China, India, South East Asia and Sub- Saharan Africa. The impacts of its research have reached beyond the UK and Europe and into developing countries.