How Eco-Farming Can Affect Your Carbon FootprintFebruary 1, 2015
In the modern age, the environment is a sensitive subject. Many think of farming, especially pig production and outdoor breeding as being environmentally ‘dirty’ and as having a negative impact on the environment. But sensible farmers are always striving towards reducing their carbon footprint and making their farming processes as environmentally friendly (and cost-effective) as possible.
Reducing Waste and Improving Efficiency
Dalehead Foods work closely with Waitrose to produce high-quality pork and meat products with minimal impact on the environment. Recently, Dalehead won the Waitrose Way ‘Treading Lightly’ award for managing to come up with EcoFarm production and management techniques that significantly reduced the environmental impact of their activities.
At one particular Dalehead Foods farm, the farmers undertook outdoor breeding with pigs living outside in straw-filled arcs for the best possible life and well-being for the pigs. As a free-range and organic product, these pigs would go on to have many progeny and help produce succulent meat products at the end of the process.
Dalehead’s farmers and specialist teams worked on ways to optimise and improve their farming methods. In doing so they found that they could easily reduce waste and improve effectiveness of the process.
Originally the pigs were fed out in the field and the farmers began to notice that the local bird life was taking note of the time of day the feeds were taking place and joining in for a free meal. This meant an unnecessary wastage of pig feed and an unnecessary cost to the business. The EcoFarm then worked on producing technology and feeding techniques to minimise this issue. By placing long troughs along the edge of the paddock, they were able to save 8% of the feed used, equating to roughly 4,000 tonnes of feed. As you can imagine, this helped bring down cost and help the businesses carbon footprint.
Next, the EcoFarm worked on producing a different kind of feed that used less energy and produced less carbon by products to manufacture. It is estimated that this lead to a 30% saving in the energy used to make the feed and a general smaller constraint on raw materials. The pigs were found to eat less of the now, nutrition-rich feed as well. All these factors lead to an overall reduction in the carbon footprint of the farm and Dalehead Foods in general.
Improving Every Step of the Process
Eco-friendly thinking and business/farming practices includes improving every step of the farming process to reduce the impact on the environment and reduce the overall cost. The best example of this once again comes from the feed production. The majority of pig feed is produced using wheat. By ensuring that the majority of the wheat is grown within a small radius of the actual mill (e.g. within 50 miles) the transport and other processing costs are reduced. This in turn leads to less use of resources (e.g. fuel to transport the wheat) and therefore a smaller carbon footprint as a whole.
This logic is further applied to the rest of the production process right from the birth of the piglets through to the meat hitting the shelves. The level of thought that goes into this process goes right down to even the most minute of details. Experimenting with trails of different housing, feeding systems and even things like using low-pressure tyres to minimise ground damage and less fuel use on farm land can make a big difference to the overall impact of any environmentally friendly farm.
Find out more about Eco-Farm practices and reducing your carbon footprint here.