Future of Farming: 7 Sustainable Farming Practices

UK farmers are consistently facing a dual challenge: navigating environmental sustainability demands, whilst also ensuring the long-term viability of farms.

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Mar
07
2024
Mar
07
2024

In the ever-changing landscape of agriculture, there are several opportunities to adopt more sustainable farming practices.

We face an array of challenges, including climate change and food security. However there are many ways that farmers can introduce new techniques and technologies to ensure a more resilient and environmentally conscious future.

Read all about sustainable farming practices below…


What is sustainable farming?

Sustainable farming serves as a means for the industry to safeguard the environment and meet the needs of both present and future generations.

By farming sustainably, we can guarantee profitability, environmental health, and social and economic equity. This approach protects soil fertility, mitigates water pollution, and conserves biodiversity.


Sustainable Farming Practices

1. Animal Welfare

The most crucial elements of farming is ensuring good animal welfare, but ensuring this can also contribute towards good sustainable farming practices.

By priortising animal welfare, farmers can enhance on-farm productivity, product quality, and consumer trust in their operations. One of the many ways you can ensure sustainable farming is by providing your cows with quality housing.

One of the most important aspects of housing for dairy cows is providing them with a dry, hygienic and comfortable bedding solution. For example, Powder Bed has been designed by Platts to absorb moisture whilst being used sparingly. We recommend using just one large coffee cup of the product to cover each cow mat, resulting in reduced costs for you.

Powder Bed helps to maintain cow cleanliness, ensuring a decrease in bacterial presence and lower cell counts, thereby reducing mastits occurrences. Consequently, this leads to decreased antibiotic usage and subsequently reduces veterinary expenses. In addition to reduced cow discomfort, which can subsequently lead to increased milk yields.

2. Incorporate new technology 

The agricultural industry is constantly trailing and adopting new innovations and technology to ensure a sustainable farming future. At the core of most agricultural companies there is commitment to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.

Therefore, next on our guide to sustainable farming practices is to introduce a range of practices and products to your farming activities.

These sustainable practices can include: replacing diesel with biofuels, including methane-reducing additives in feed, and increased use of autonomous vehicles to reduce feed waste.

3. Turn cow manure into renewable energy

We all know that manure has major impacts on the environment as it produces methane, which is a leading contributor to climate change. But, thanks to innovative technology called an anaerobic digester, farmers are able to turn cow manure into a form of renewable energy.

The electricity generated can be integrated back into the electric grid, contributing to sustainable power sources. Meanwhile, the heat produced can be used to warm nearby buildings and houses, offering a practical and eco-friendly solution for energy needs.

The solids exiting the digester can also be reused as a natural fertiliser.

4. Partner with sustainable businesses

By choosing to partner and collaborate with companies that ensure sustainable practices throughout their operations, from sourcing raw materials to manufacturing processes, farmers can help to establish good sustainable farming practices and drive the sustainability ethos of other businesses by their procurement choices.

At Platts, sustainability is one of our core values and at the forefront of everything that we do. The lifecycle of our products begin when we collect wood residue from our eco-conscious suppliers, diverting them from landfill or being burnt and producing CO2 emissions. Subsequently, these by-products are brought to our Llay site, where we process them and dispatch the final products to farmers.

Platts are striving to achieve carbon net zero as a business, demonstrating good practice and leading the way in sustainable animal bedding production.

By choosing to collaborate with sustainability-driven companies, farmers not only secure their own future but also play a vital role in shaping a more sustainable world for the next generation of farmers.

5. Incorporate water recycling 

Next on our guide to sustainable farming practices involves water recycling, which includes collecting, treating, and reusing water within the farm.

By doing this, you can reduce reliance on external water sources and decrease the environmental impacts of wastewater discharge. Farmers are critical in helping to ensure that future generations have access to clean and sustainable water sources.

One of the primary sources of recyclable water for arable farmers is irrigation runoff, which refers to the excess water that flows over the soil surface rather than being absorbed.

The collection of farm wastewater can enable great savings in water use and cost, including wastewater from cleaning equipment, or processing plants for washing vegetables for instance. This can then stored and used for irrigation when needed. Other opportunities for water savings include the collection of rainwater for animal drinking water or irrigation.

6. Create renewable energy with solar power 

Dairy farmers are increasingly turning to renewable energy sources to power their operations. Solar power stands as the best opportunity for farmers, providing a clean, reliable, and cost-effective solution to meet their needs.

With abundant sunlight available on farmland, solar power is a compelling opportunity for farmers to generate clean electricity.

7. Reduce food waste

Concluding our guide to sustainable farming is about how farmers have the opportunity to fight food waste on their operations.

One of the many ways that farmers can do this is by exploring opportunities to repurpose surplus or unsellable product as animal feed for livestock on the farm.

This can include feeding excess fruits, vegetables, and grains to livestock such as pigs, chickens, and cattle, reducing the amount of food waste generated and providing a nutritious feed source.

Food buyers, including supermarkets, and shoppers also play an important role in reducing food waste by not refusing to buy vegetables that are small or oddly shaped. Often, perfectly good food is thrown away because of its unusual shape or size. Companies such as Oddbox are helping to reduce food waste by selling this often-wasted product.

Disposing of food waste in landfills is not only unethical when people are going hungry but also, if it biodegrades anaerobically, it produces methane, which is a very strong greenhouse gas.


Farming a Greener Future


Be part of our journey as we continue to work towards creating sustainable farming industry by following us on uInstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.

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