The Group aims to practice a long term sustainable and environmentally safe cropping system. The Company seeks to operate its production programmes to the highest standards of quality assurance and environmental stewardship. This is based on the principles of IFM (Integrated Farm Management) using EU accredited principles through LEAF principles and Scottish Natural Heritage's TIBRE programme. This encompasses proven environmental technology and practices and use of varietal, cultural, cultivation and rotational tools and techniques in addition to targeted approved chemical crop protection measures to maintain yield and quality as a planned process of risk management.
The natural conditions of the chernozem soils allow for the use of minimum cultivation and seeding systems. This conserves carbon in the soil, soil fertility and reduces fuel consumption. The Group aims for higher yields and better quality without excessive use of fertiliser. Precision farming techniques means fertiliser is applied according to the specific needs of the plants. Experienced certificated specialists perform weekly field inspections and research which leads to continuous fine tuning of the plans for fertiliser and plant protection during the season to optimise input use.
The Group embraces its responsibility to protect and enhance the environment in which it works and concords with the importance all our stake-holders place on sound environmental management and accountability.
Our environmental policy encompasses: Climate Change and Resource Management; Ecosystem Services; Biodiversity; Landscape and Culture; Awareness and Understanding.
We are adopting, at the core of our business a long term, sustainable and environmentally sound management practices, which meet and exceed international standards of best practice.
We are working to achieve these high standards of quality assurance and environmental stewardship through the adoption of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles and practices which span all aspects of the farm business.
These principles are enacted and audited through EU accredited and internationally recognised programmes such as "Linking Environment And Farming" (LEAF) and Scottish Natural Heritage's "Targeted Inputs for a Better Rural Environment" (TIBRE). We are supported by expert advisory, environmental auditing and planning services.
Climate Change and Resource Management
Our aim is to protect the quality of our core resources of soil, water and air, particularly to control the use and leakage of carbon and nitrogen from the farm system, and so support national and international efforts to manage climate change.
We use proven environmental technology and practices as well as varietal, cultural, cultivation and rotational tools and techniques to minimise the impact of farm operations on the environment. It also includes the targeted use of approved chemical crop protection measures to maintain yield and quality as a planned process of risk management.
The natural conditions of the chernozem soils allow minimum cultivation and seeding systems to be used which conserve carbon in the soil, maintain soil fertility as well as reduce fuel consumption.
The use of precision farming techniques results in fertiliser being applied according to the specific needs of the plants allowing the Group to achieve higher yields and better quality without excessive use of fertiliser.
The use of modern, expertly maintained equipment contributes to fuel efficiency and the targeting of activities.
Experienced certificated specialists perform weekly field inspections and research which leads to continuous fine tuning of the plans for fertiliser and plant protection during the season to optimise and target inputs and operations.
We are working to reduce our inputs as the primary step in waste minimisation. We are also identifying ways to re-use and recycle materials and by-products.
An audit of ecological assets is contributing to the planning and targeting of operations to increase efficiency, reduce waste and save costs associated with additional management of difficult and least productive areas of land.
The Group recognises the critical role whole ecosystems serve in supporting food production and our wellbeing.
As such we protect and enhance vital features such as surface and ground water resources which provide us and our community with fresh drinking water. This extends to keeping our operations away from watercourses and drinking wells and maintaining wide vegetated bufferstrips between our cropped land and water bodies.
We also protect and encourage areas rich in wildflowers which provide an essential home for beneficial species such as bumblebees and ladybirds.
We appreciate the role natural wetlands, grassland and floodplains play in controlling flooding by slowing and storing water and sediments. As well as actively keeping and protecting these features, we are also starting to restore the natural structure of straightened water channels to help them cope with extremes in flows.
We also keep and protect significant areas of wetland, woodland, scrub and semi-natural grassland associated with the farmland we manage, which store carbon, nitrogen and phosphates and slow their loss to air and water.
As land managers we value the environment in which we work and the wildlife it supports. We also recognise the importance of protecting the connectivity, diversity and extent of whole ecosystems and habitat networks to maintain functional and healthy populations of plants and animals.
The areas in which we work support extensive, diverse and very high quality habitats, home to a wealth of wildlife such as Eurasian beaver, elk, aquatic warbler, reed bunting, marsh harrier, great white egret, common frog, smooth newt, and many species of insects including dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies.
We are particularly conscious of our responsibility to protect and enhance nationally and internationally threatened habitats and species affected by farming operations both on and off the farm, such as rivers, fens, marshes and wildflower-rich grasslands. As such we are working to support local, national and international policies and Biodiversity Action Plans for species and habitats.
Landscape and Culture
A key policy is to respect, engage and support the localities in which we work. We understand the importance and benefits of maintaining and contributing to a diverse, vibrant and attractive landscape for all who live and work within it as well as for the local economy through tourism and recreation. We respect the culture of the communities in which we work and aim to support their interests. For example, we understand the prominence of the white stork within the culture of local communities.
We are applying methods to protect and enhance their habitat and well-being, as well as to engage with local communities to monitor these iconic birds.
Awareness and Understanding
We aim to engage all team members in collective responsibility for environmental stewardship across all sectors of our business and in our relationships with all stake-holders including suppliers and customers.
A programme of continuing professional development for team members is improving awareness, understanding and competence in the targeting of activities, to avoid waste and to protect ecosystems.
We aim to engage with the local communities through wildlife and farming education and activities for example through visits to and from schools and developing accessible media for communication with all stake-holders.
We use The Farm Environment Ltd to provide expert advice, guidance and accredited training on the protection of our environment.