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Case Studies - Mitigation Method Interaction - AC0227

The project will be led and delivered by ADAS, working with Promar International Ltd, Anderson Consulting Ltd, North Wyke Research and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science (IBERS). The project team brings together expertise in the core subjects of climate change, farm GHG mitigation, environmental impacts, economic analysis and knowledge of farming practices, farmer behaviour and industry contacts, as well as a range of expertise that can be called up if required.

The project is divided into 7 work packages to identify and select the farmers, collect data, evaluate the mitigation potential, environmental impact, economics and practical issues, and reporting. Each work package will be managed by an appropriate ADAS consultant with a team of deliverers from ADAS, Promar International Ltd and Anderson Consulting Ltd, supported by an expert panel.

The project centres around the use of carefully selected case study farms to develop understanding of real farm mitigation potential, environmental and economic impacts and practical issues of adopting a suite of GHG mitigation methods, called a mitigation plan.
Mitigation methods vary in their ease of implementation depending on whether they are simple management changes with low cost and skills required, or more strategic changes that require investment and greater levels of skills. In order to evaluate the impacts of a range of methods, we will identify farms that have already implemented some methods, including the longer-term methods, and are prepared to implement further methods during the project period. Candidate case study farms will therefore require good management records for the last 3-5 years.

Candidate case study farms in this category will be those who employ a farm management consultant (such as ADAS, Promar or Andersons) or who take part in the Defra Farm Business Survey. In order to have a broad selection of candidate farms, farms from both groups will be invited to take part.
The case study farms will be selected from the candidate farms to ensure that there is representation of both a range of robust farm types (cereal, general cropping, dairy, cattle and sheep and mixed) and implemented or potential specific mitigation methods from across England and Wales.
Each case study farm will be allocated a Farm Liaison Consultant who has knowledge of the sector and experience working with farmers. Their role will be data collection and to ensure that the farmers get some value from being part of the project.

A target of 15 case studies will be conducted which balances the need for a range of farm types and specific mitigation adoption, and the need for robust and detailed analysis with in the budget. Each case study will have 5 elements: (1) Development of a farm mitigation plan based on the WQ0106 User Guide and the industry GHG Action Plan, covering mitigation methods already adopted, and planned adoption of new methods or extension of current methods; (2) Quantitative assessments using real farm data of greenhouse gas mitigation potential using a mass balance approach; (3) Evaluation of other environmental impacts using inventory approaches (ammonia, nitrate) or the Farmscoper tool (phosphates, sediments); (4) Evaluation of economic impacts using partial budgets and consideration of impacts on efficiency through metrics such as total factor productivity; and, (5) Qualitative review of farm characteristics, farmer details (age, education, behavioural type etc), with evaluation of motivations and practical issues.
Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected from the farms during a 12 month period within the project (ideally Sept 2011 – Aug 2012), by the Farm Liaison Consultants using a special data collection form to ensure completeness and consistency. Data collection will include current and historical data from accounts and other farm records.

The analysis of the mitigation potential will be based upon the components of both farm gate and soil surface nutrient balances, integrated with emissions calculations taken from national inventory methods for greenhouse gases, ammonia and nitrate. Other environmental impacts will be evaluated using the Farmscoper tool. The analysis of the economic data will seek to isolate the financial impacts of implementing the mitigation plan from a large number of other influencing factors. The analysis requires linking the mitigation methods to the impact in the accounts and the estimation of farm income changes (measured as Farm Business Income) and how these impact on total factor productivity, using established methodology.
The analysis of practical issues and motivation will provide insight into drivers and barriers to uptake and what limitations or variables there may be in certain circumstances.

The output of the project will be a report on the individual case studies with evaluation of mitigation potential and other environmental impacts, the economic impacts and practical issues of following a mitigation plan. The report will provide Defra with insight into the relationships between mitigation methods, GHG reductions, financial performance, and farmer responses all set within the historic and current economic landscape. Some will provide useful examples for wider dissemination beyond the term of this project (with the host farmers’ agreement).
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : AC0227 Final Report Aug'13   (1026k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2013

Cost: £215,065
Contractor / Funded Organisations