FARMER AL REDUCES HIS CARBON FOOTPRINT WITHOUT CULLING THE MUMMY PIGS
Nothing like shock tactics to get you reading!
Before I get into the Blog I want to introduce the newest member of the Ballakelly Team – Harry Gillings,
Welcome to the mad farm! Harry will be part of the farm team for the next year before he starts an exciting course at Harper Adams. You may have noticed us mentioning ‘Harry’ on the Facebook, I didn’t want people thinking we were using Rachel’s pony to plough!! (that would be good though!)
Back to blog: During the food festival there were people handing out flyers, they had one-sided statements about why was cruel to eat all meat and all farming was very carbon unfriendly, they had a great solution – stop farming!!!!
At first I wanted to google all their ‘statements’ to see if there was any substance to them, then waste hours writing a blog with counter arguments as to why Manx farmers are awesome, but instead I ended up reading all about how I can improve my farming techniques to reduce my carbon welly print.
Ballakelly has always tried to farm efficiently while considering the surrounding environment. My dad would have gone mad if I had trimmed the hedges at certain times of the year, he loved his wildlife, used to say if we look after them then they will look after us. We were already abiding by the hedge trimming restrictions that DEFA brought in.
Personally, I have become really aware of my farming methods since I started directly selling my produce to you!! I need to continue to improve the way I farm for both efficiently/finances but to protect the environment, which in turn protects my farm and family.
This week Ballakelly teamed up with Will and his team from McMillin Farms. Together we have been ‘drilling’ the winter barley. Harry has also been out with the Aerator trying to help the worms and water get about the soil.
Last year was the first time we tried using minimum tillage (MT) methods, alongside the old school methods. We got great results, the best crops came out of the MT fields! I am hoping it was not just beginners luck!!
Before we started the winter fieldwork this year I called in to see Will. We open a bottle of his best single malt and set to debating options of how best to farm the land at Ballakelly along with many other farm boy topics!!!
After the success with MT last year we were discussing do we plough, rotavate, roll then drill or do we DTX min till (disc and deep tine cultivator) then drill with the Horsch drill.
For the non-farm guys reading this you may wonder what Will & I were talking about!! This is how I explained it to Rachel & Tinky:
How many times a diesel-burning tractor has to drive round the field to drill the crop:
- Billy style – plough, rotare, roll & drill – 4 trips
- Farmer Al style – DTX & Drill – 2 trips or
- Will Mac style – Just Drill – 1 trip
Fewer trips is less cost in man hours and also less diesel – win win for both farmer and farm environment. Will also pointed out with the Manx weather, where we have 4 seasons in one day, his style is fastest!!!
Will and I also discussed the positive reasons for the soil quality not to plough which is explained better by google below. As a farmer we need to do our bit to slow down climate change however small, like dad used to say look after the worms and they will look after the soil!
Below is the best thing I read on google: [BALLAKELLY COMMENTS IN GREEN]
Climate change can have an adverse impact on agriculture. Yet, agriculture can also have an adverse impact on global warming, as it contributes to more than half of CH4 and N20 emissions, which are the two most powerful greenhouse gases. To find methods to improve agriculture’s impact on planet Earth, read the six effective ways farmers can reduce their carbon footprint.
- Conservation Tillage
Ploughing is a traditional farming method that prepares the land, but it removes a substantial amount of carbon from soil, which is increasing the industry’s carbon footprint. Farmers should seriously consider utilizing conservation tillage to retain carbon in the soil. Not only will this enhance the soil structure of the land, but it will also make it increasingly resistant to erosion or drought.
BINGO!!! – PER ABOVE THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING AT BALLAKELLY
- Correct Irrigation Systems
Many farmers are facing the risk of a water shortage and expensive energy costs. Improving their irrigation practices should, therefore, be a primary objective, as they can both improve their water and carbon footprint while substantially reducing their operational costs. That is because the right irrigation system will result in less water wastage and more affordable energy bills. Solar power is also a money-saving alternative, as farmers will no longer solely rely on diesel or electricity to power their pumps.
WATER – WE HAVE A WELL, WE COLLECT DRAIN WATER FROM THE SHEDS AND USE IT FOR CLEANING JOBS, BUT WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING TO IMPROVE OUR SYSTEMS ESP HOW THE LAND UTILISES THE WATER GOING THROUGH IT.
RENEWABLE ENERGY IS AN AREA WE ARE VERY ACTIVLY RESEARCHING AS I TYPE, WE ARE DUE AN ENERGY REVIEW TO HELP DECIDE WHICH WAY WE GO TO TRY TO PRODUCE OUR OWN ENERGY – PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ADVICE.
- Repair or Refurbishment
Farmers can make the big mistake of directly replacing heavy-duty machinery when it breaks down. Yet, all it might take to get the machine back up and running could be a replacement part, repair or refurbishment. Rather than throwing away the machinery to add more waste to a landfill, find the finest industrial parts to fix your agricultural applications.
THIS WAS MY DAD ALL THE WAY – UNTIL LAST WEEK WHEN I BOUGHT THE NEW TRACTOR IT WAS ME! I HAVE BEEN NURSING ALL MY OLD EQUIPMENT FOR YEARS BUT HAD TO GIVE IN.
HOWEVER THE POSITIVE PART OF THIS IS THAT THE NEW GREEN TRACTOR OPERATES WITH ADD BLUE, SO IS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT THAN THE OLD GIRLS WERE, IT IS ALSO MUCH MORE FUEL EFFICIENT WHICH ONCE AGAIN IS GOOD FOR MY POCKET AND GOOD FOR THE CARBON WELLY PRINT
I DO THINK WE NEED TO RE-USE AS MANY THINGS AS WE CAN AND BALLAKELLY WILL ALWAYS HAVE A ‘FIX IT’ POLICY AS THIS IS PART OF THE TEARE GENETICS!
- Organic Fertilizer
Unfortunately, the excess use of nitrogenous fertilizer over a fifty-year period has had a serious impact on climate change. It’s believed the manufacturing, transportation, and application of the product onto agricultural fields has produced a shocking amount of greenhouse gases. Farmers have a responsibility to use an organic fertilizer to lower their carbon footprint and protect planet earth.
AT BALLAKELLY RACHEL IS CONSTANTLY TRYING TO REDUCE THE USE OF BOUGHT IN FERTILIZER. THE BEST THING ABOUT THE FARMING SYSTEM WE HAVE IS THAT MY ANIMALS [ESP THE BAD CARDON PRODUCING PIGS] CREATE PLENTLY OF NATURAL FERTILISER TO SPREAD. SO ECO WARRIORS WHO WOULD LIKE TO BREED ANIMALS THAT DON’T EMIT CO2 IT IS NOT ALL POO!
WHILE ON THE POO TALK I HAVE TO SHARE MY FAVORITE TINKY STORY
TEACHER: WHAT DO WE NEED TO MAKE THINGS GROW?
TEACHER: DON’T YOU MEAN MANURE
TINKY: NOPE DAD DEFINITLY SAID YOU NEED SHIT TO MAKE THINGS GROW!!!!
- Transportation of Produce
Transportation is a natural aspect of agriculture, as food will need to be transported from A to B for packaging and distribution to stores. The industry must focus on bulk transportation of all produce and packaging to reduce fuel consumption, which could help to lower a farmer’s carbon footprint.
WOW BINGO! WE COULD WRITE A WHOLE BLOG HERE ABOUT SUPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMER AND EAT LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD!!!
- Tree Restoration
Carbon storage is essential for the safety of planet earth and its inhabitants. Yet, deforestation is taking a considerable toll on climate change. Tree restoration is, however, the biggest and most immediate carbon stock solution over a short-term period. Farmers must ultimately live up to their agricultural responsibilities by reducing or preventing deforestation.
APPARENTLY A FIELD OF SILAGE USES MORE CARDON THAN A FIELD OF TREES!
The world depends on agriculture for vital food sources. Yet, agriculture emissions are currently causing the biggest impact to climate change. It is therefore important to embrace new technologies, refurbishment services and to adopt new farming practices to start reducing the rising emissions caused by food production.
FARMER AL’S CONCLUSION – KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK MANX FARMERS TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE. YOU GUYS KEEP SUPPORTING US BY BUYING LOCALLY PRODUCED PRODUCT WHERE THE FARMER RECEIVES A FAIR PRICE FOR THEIR HARD WORK
This year I am honored to be one of the judges of the crops for the grassland society. I really want to bring in the ‘farming techniques’ into what gives us the ‘best’ crop, there are so many more factors we need to consider as a farmer these days.
Time to go and have family time – How can you guys help???!! – BUY BALLAKELLY MEAT! – Use code ECOAL to get 10%* off next purchase!!!
*excludes products on offer