Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farm on the Right Road; Farming Time for All to Count the Cost of Wasting Energy NFU View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farm on the Right Road; Farming Time for All to Count the Cost of Wasting Energy NFU View

Article excerpt

Byline: Stoker Frater

FIRST of all at the start of a brand new year, can I personally wish you all a prosperous 2008.

I mean that most sincerely, and make no bones about the fact that we are hopefully heading into a completely new era in farming, with dwindling energy supplies and an even greater importance placed on conserving the energy we have.

There will also, I think, be more emphasis on local supply. By local, I mean non-imported - as with all products, the cost of getting them to our shores rises more steeply every day.

The recent ship stranded on a sand bank in the Channel gives us some idea of the millions of tonnes of goods ferried back and forward across our oceans, and food is no exception. For too long we have been a pampered nation with stacks of food on our shelves, and waste never given a second thought.

One of the things we are constantly asking our government to do is to ensure they source all their food locally. At a recent meeting we were told that Scotland already achieves this for all its schools, hospitals and so on. It buys approximately 200,000 tonnes per year, but putting that into perspective, Tesco gets rid of 600,000 tonnes of red meat waste a year.

We all need to look at our personal use of energy, use of food and the cost of the food we produce. At home at Abberwick, we have looked into our own system and on two fronts have been surprised at the results.

Last winter we installed our own private grey water supply for the livestock, and with just a second hand tank and a small pressure pump we have achieved significant savings on our costs, and saved the cost of replacing ten water troughs that did not comply with new EU regulations.

Also last winter, we bought a diet feeder for the same farm. This has proved the complete opposite, as with mainly cows to feed, the fuel used and time taken to mix a silage straw ration has cost us dearly. …

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