Caring for the environment is central to what we do and we belong to environmental schemes both at Huddlestone and Blackburn.
The brookland/meadowland at Huddlestone is part of a scheme to encourage wading birds and three scrapes (wet areas) have been developed. Grassland on the brooks is managed to allow ground nesting birds to flourish and elsewhere beetle banks and field margins encourage insects and small invertebrates. As a result we see large numbers of wildfowl as well as encouraging sightings of owls etc.
Blackburn has a natural area of land which is known as ‘The Bog’ and is home to numerous species of wildbirds as well as plants.
Since 1987 we have planted 5 miles of hedging and are due to embark on some tree planting as a result of Ash Die Back.
A family ran rough shoot enables us to plant small acreages of sunflowers and millet which provides invaluable feed for all birds during the winter months.
We have installed a Solar PV system on the roofs at Huddlestone to reduce our reliance on electricity generated by the National Grid. A recently built house has a Ground Source Heat Pump installed and we use various heat exchange devices in the dairy unit to reduce our carbon footprint.
We have been fortunate to receive LEADER grant funding to support our pursuit of increased sustainability & productivity.
This was specifically for our Dairy Efficiency Project which aims to replace the historic lights and vacuum pump in the dairy. Both of these improvements will utilise less electricity and therefore increase the sustainability of the dairy. The increase in area that is lit during working hours will also mean a safer environment for both the cows and the team here at Huddlestone.
The grant was supported by the Rural Development Programme for England, for which DEFRA is the Managing Authority, part financed by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. More information about this type of funding can be found at the EU Commission’s rural development page at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rurdev/index_en.htm