Mitigation measures in the ‘smart inventory’: Practical abatement potential in Scottish agriculture

The UK’s inventory of greenhouse gas emissions measures progress towards reduction targets. The methodology for agriculture has recently changed to better reflect the current science on the GHG emissions from agriculture.

The new methodology is called the ‘smart inventory’. It includes a wider range of technologies and management options than the previous inventory based on more recent science, although there are still gaps in our understanding.

This report summarises how different changes to  agricultural practice in Scotland are (or could be) recognised in the smart inventory. It provides information to policy makers on what changes can be captured in the UK GHG inventory, and what further steps could be taken to reflect Scottish agricultural practices more accurately.

Key findings

  • The smart inventory reflects the mitigation activities for which we currently have robust data and analysis
  • Annual Scotland-specific data are used in many activities (e.g. crop areas, fertilisation rates livestock numbers, milk yield, slaughter weight), but more specific activity data either are either not updated annually or not systematically collected for Scotland.
  • Inventory development is a continuous process and future data collection should be planned with the Inventory team in order to maximise the use of the data in the inventory. 
  • There are four main data categories that would enhance data collection initially:
    a) Nitrogen fertilisation of minor crops and novel legumes 
    b) Area and fertilisation information on  intercropping
    c) Ruminant diets
    d) Manure management and storage information