Farming for the future

Our family farms for tomorrow not today. We make long-term investments, often choosing a higher cost solution which factors in the economic, environmental and social payback for all our stakeholders.
We are focussed on enhancing our farmed environment for the benefit of our whole business:
Carbon footprint – annual audit to reduce emissions and capture carbon. We still need to understand sequestration better and continue to monitor developments in this space but for now we are focussing no attacking our larger emissions areas such as fuel, fertilizer and energy usage
Water footprint – our computerised-monitoring systems (soil moisture probes, sap flow monitors, dendrometers etc.) will help us to use the minimum amount of water required. We also harvest rainwater into reservoirs for irrigating our crops and use biobeds to reduce the impact of ‘dirty’ water entering local water courses
Soil footprint – our mixed farming heritage gives us many natural advantages when it comes to managing our farmed environment, be that through mob grazing our livestock, regular applications of organic matter in all our farming enterprises or the use of cover crops to reduce soil erosion, build soil fertility and biodiversity and to feed our livestock through the winter
Energy footprint – we have installed 1MW of roof mounted solar arrays to date generating electricity and reducing import consumption in cold storage, packing and farming operations
​​Stewardship footprint – we are active participants in Natural England Environmental Stewardship Schemes which covers our whole farm and we also manage a number of SSSI’s
We have a farming ‘can do’ attitude when it comes to sustainability: [MORE]
Resource efficiency – critical to all our decision making. Smarter growing systems, healthier soils and biodiversity driving yields on farm which in turn maximizes resource efficiency
Staff management – investment at all levels of our staff to build a sustainable employment structure. The family remain active farmers and we have a top driven continuous improvement culture
Crop rotation – as mixed farmers we have multiple crop rotation options which ensures there is huge diversity in our farmed environment
Precision farming – greater control of production and uniformity of crops
LEAF Marque – we see our membership of LEAF as codification of existing and best practice (we take the same approach with other farm assurance schemes we are involved in) and believe the scheme and the regular reviews of our environmental practices we undertake as a result of our membership, as important to improving our farmed environment
The following are some of the sustainable processes we currently implement and regularly review on the farm:
We strive to meet, and where appropriate exceed, all relevant environmental legislation and regulatory codes of practice. Our LEAF Integrated Farm Management and Landscape & Nature Conservation and Enhancement policy documents are core farming pillars for our business – we regularly assess and evaluate existing wildlife habitats and landscapes and implement an action plan for their improvement
We also take a very active role in Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Schemes, with the Farms participating in a number of environmental schemes including Countryside Stewardship Schemes and SSSI’s
We utilize mob grazing practices in our cattle enterprise which is short duration, high density grazing with a longer than usual grass recovery period believing that this system leads to healthier soils

Bees and earwigs – these have been identified as key species of our farmland wildlife and we work with local beekeepers to introduce Honey Bees and have Honey Bee & Bumble Bee hives on site to help pollinate crops. In our pear orchards we have encouraged Earwig populations through the provision of manmade habitats that favour earwig reproduction by setting out bamboo canes to provide earwig ‘hotels’
Plant varieties – we have a number of commercial variety and growing system trials across the farm seeking improvements in yield, quality and pest & disease resistance in order that we can reduce our pesticide usage
IPM and biological methods – the introduction of natural and biological predators and use of Biological Plant Protection Products enhances nature’s combat and further reduces our use of pesticides
SSSI and flood defence – Sandwich Bay is our largest SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). One third of the farm acts as a wetland grazing area as part of the Sandwich Flood Defence Scheme
Biobeds – we have implemented a number of biobeds across the Farms to reduce the impact of ‘dirty’ water on local water courses
​​​Environment and Conservation consultants – we work closely with consultants for advice on best practise in conservation of water, flora and fauna on our farm
​Recycling – we seek to use recyclable material and also to recycle our cardboard, plastic and other farm waste where ever possible
​Sensor-operated technology – we have installed taps in the packhouse and lighting around the farm which is sensor-operated to reduce water and electricity usage
​Soil erosion reduction – we use cover crops to reduce soil erosion where arable crops are grown and grow perennial crops in soil with permanent alleys
​Solar panels – we have installed solar technology to generate electricity and reduce consumption in cold storage, packing and farming operations
​Waste reduction – we reduce our food waste by searching for alternative uses such as selling surplus produce to third parties, feeding surplus produce to our livestock, allowing our local ‘Gleaning Network’ to pick over our fields/orchards to supply charities with food – we have also completed a WRAP single product whole chain food waste reduction project in conjunction with Lidl GB