‘Pig producers must act on carbon’

There is a chance for pig producers to become carbon neutral but farmers must be acting now to lock up carbon, said professor of agriculture at Bangor University Gareth Edward Jones.

Speaking at the annual JSR Conference, Sutton Bonnington, Nottinghamshire, he said: “Although big reductions in carbon emissions are never going to be from farms when you put it in context, the challenge is the fact media and marketing messages often run ahead of the science on these issues, which is why all livestock farmers need to be acting now.”

How land as well as the supply chain is managed are all important aspects when considering reducing emissions from agriculture, he added. “There is mounting evidence that livestock farms can be carbon neutral in the true sense of the word by planting trees, for example. Working with a cluster in Wales we calculated if the group were coordinated when planting trees, then only 30,000 trees would need to be planted in an area of 250ha. This would mean those farms would be locking up more carbon than they were giving off.”

It is also wrong to believe big farms have a larger carbon footprint than smaller farms as this isn’t always the case, he added. “A small upland farm with a peaty soil can give of high levels of nitrous oxide, so the type of land is an important aspect.”

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