SCOTTISH SCIENTISTS are teaming up with South American farmers to help reduce the carbon footprint of Argentina, which has one of the highest levels of beef consumption in the world.

Argentinians consumes more than 100lbs of beef per capita every year compared to 24lbs of beef in the UK and the South American nation has around 53 million cattle – accounting for more than 5% of the cattle on Earth.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA) of Argentina which will see SRUC scientists share information on sustainable management practices as well as technological innovations in food production.

It is hoped the agreement will increase the use of digital tools and protocols for estimating the carbon balance of food production in Argentina, with a particular focus on the extensive nature of the country’s cattle systems.

The agreement also means INTA is renewing the commitment it has been developing with other institutions from different countries in terms of innovation systems in the digitalisation processes of agriculture as well as in the adoption of 4.0 technologies which add value to production.

This includes the use of drones, robotics, remote measurements to monitor crops, livestock, soil conditions, and satellites to monitor climate. These help to optimise agricultural practices and to be more effective and efficient, as well as support decision making, investment and the policies it promotes.

SRUC, meanwhile, will benefit from access to a wide range of production systems in geographical areas ranging from the sub-tropical, humid Pampas and arid mountains to the Patagonian Desert.

Head of SRUC’s Innovation Hub, Teresa Shutter, said: “This initiative opens new opportunities to partner in our efforts to reach net zero food systems and preserve our global natural environment.”

Manager of Institutional Relations at INTA, Dr Guillermo Sanchez, added: “We are delighted to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with SRUC, which gives us an excellent opportunity to gain better knowledge of sustainable management practices and technological innovations in food production.”