Low Carbon: Farmers diversify to meet eco challenge
CHESHIRE farmers are turning to technology to reduce their carbon footprint and their costs.
The county's farming community have been challenged to make their farms greener by recently-formed group Farming Futures.
A survey claimed that Cheshire dairy farmers were confident they could reduce green house gases by 11% by 2020.
Farms are being targeted by environmental bodies due to the large usage of water, electricity, heat and amount of methane being emitted.
Dairy farmer John Allwood, who runs Huntingdon Hall Farm, near Chester, has been successful in implementing greener methods of farming, also designed to reduce costs and boost efficiency.
In the last two years he has installed a heat exchanger, which saves on electricity, a rain-fall tank which can be used to wash the dairy parlour twice a day and a manure recycling system to keep nitrogen and natural fertiliser in the ground. Future plans could include solar panels or a single wind turbine.
He said: "Dairy farming is heavy on power consumption. Power costs are going up so it is in our interest.
"With the aid of new technologies we are continuing to lower the costs of production. But we are not doing that just to go green.
"You have to become more efficient. You can't put a climate tax on the production of milk."
Farming Futures strategic advisor Madeleine Lewis added: "Like every sector of the economy, farming has its role to play in the shift to a low carbon economy, but the good news is that a lot of the things farmers can do are good for their bottom line too.
"It's not all about big investments as we can see from the survey results almost half of farmers are improving energy efficiency on their farm."