Farming's national test programme on track

The first phase of Track 1 of the Scottish Government’s long-awaited National Test Programme- which marks the benchmarking portion of the policy move to sustainable production – will open for business on May 9.

Revealing some of the details of the scheme, rural affairs cabinet secretary, Mairi Gougeon said that the process would help producers prepare to meet the conditions of future agriculture policy and support.

She said that farmers could access the newly published guidance on-line for details of the financial support which would be made available for activity aimed at improving awareness of the climate performance of individual businesses.

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However while NFU Scotland welcomed the support for undertaking carbon audits, it has become clear that the £500 available for carrying out the task would be limited to those who did not already have one or where the existing audit was more than three years old.

But with the second element of the scheme – the Soil Analysis and Development Payment - requiring the completion of such an audit, many already undertaking such work – including those who had been involved in the Beef Efficiency Scheme and who routinely completed carbon audits as part of a supply contract – would have to pay for their own audits.

Conditional on having a carbon audit which meets the PAS 2050 standard, support will be available for soil sampling and analysis at the rate of £30 a hectare, payment being limited to one-fifth of the Region 1 land area claimed. A prescribed set of tests – including pH, phosphate, potash and carbon levels would also have to be included in the analysis.



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