A NEW online tool will help farmers boost efficiency whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The AgRE Calc programme has been launched by Scotland's Rural College and is available free to all Scottish farmers at www.agrecalc.com/

The product was launched as part of the Scottish Government's Farming for a Better Climate initiative. The programme will draw on data available from IACS submissions, livestock records, invoices and sales.

SAC Consulting's Julian Bell said: "Looking ahead, farmers are going to have to produce more food, with fewer resources and less environmental impact. We have developed AgRE Calc to help them measure their use of resources and carbon emissions across the whole farm, a particular enterprise or even by product."

The tool has been developed by SRUC with input from staff in both SAC consulting and research divisions. This ensures it can be updated as science develops. There is already enough data in the system to allow users to benchmark their own farms against similar ones and as more farmers use AgRE Calc, the database will grow making the tool even more accurate.

"The system generates key performance indicators such as the electricity used per cow or red diesel consumption per hectare," said Mr Bell. "It also allows you to pinpoint any wasteful hot spots in your business so you can take action to improve efficiency."

According to Mr Bell, while the basic system will be available free on the web, in order to fund re-investment in the service, SRUC will eventually charge for those needing more detailed data .