Young dairy farmer Patrick Morris-Eyton says degradation of the environment is the main issue impacting the agricultural industry, so he is determined to tackle this.
His family operates Beckside Farm, a 400-cow dairy unit, producing five million litres of milk annually for dairy co-operative Arla.
The farm is one of 200 Arla members which supply Morrisons with liquid milk.
The 251-hectare (620-acre) farm in Cumbria is harnessing nature to create renewable energy.
Based in the Lake District’s Whicham Valley, it receives about 1,500mm of rain a year, so the family has installed a hydroelectric generator in the nearby beck.
The generator produces about 400,000kWh in an average year, about 50 per cent of the farm’s energy requirements, saving £20,000 in bills.
Patrick says: “Our region is synonymous with downpours.
When the heavens open, our hydroelectric generator springs into action, providing energy for the whole farm.
On a particularly wet day, we can even sell energy back into the Grid.
It has had a huge impact and will help us and our community become more sustainable.” Patrick is also part of ‘Arla UK 360’, an initiative Morrisons has signed up to, where its 200 farmer-suppliers have committed to meet levels of excellence, including in the environment and economic resilience.
Through the scheme, Patrick benchmarks and learns from farmers across the UK and Europe.
He says: “Since I manage the farm’s breeding and nutrition, this is helping me produce milk as efficiently as possible, affecting farmers and the dairy industry, such as antibiotic use, animal welfare and health and safety on-farm.
Matt says: “How we can reduce our carbon footprint will become part of thegroup’s process, with workshops focusing on practical ways our farmers can reduce carbon emissions.
Baseline “Once we have created a baseline for our entire milk field, each of our farmers will receive an individual report which outlines their current position and how they benchmark against other producers in the milk field, which will highlight areas that could be investigated to drive improvement.
This will be part of an ongoing process.” While the processor works to its key environmental targets going forward, Matt believes a collaborative approach is fundamental to achieving ambitious and sustainable food production.
He says: “Everyone in the supply chain has a part to play and the dairy sector has a great opportunity to positively contribute and help solve the climate challenge our planet is facing.
A positive first step farmers could take would be to focus on improvements which do not have an associated cost or which could actually deliver a positive return, such as better feed conversion, genetic improvements or through better use of farmyard manure.” with the best milk composition and environmental standards.”
Also a member of Climate Check, he inputs data such as herd size, housing, milk volumes, feed, energy and fuel usage to identify areas for carbon emission reductions, as the processor works towards net zero by 2050.
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