JSR Farms: Reducing our Carbon Footprint and progressing towards Net Zero
ALEX HAIGH TALKS ABOUT JSR FARMS’ JOURNEY TO NET ZERO
Alex Haigh, our Technical Co-ordinator at JSR Genetics, delivered a presentation on JSR’s advancements towards achieving net zero at the Pigs Tomorrow conference back in May 2023. Though this was a pig industry conference she also covered JSR Farms’ contribution towards to reducing our carbon footprint and how we are progressing towards net zero.
To read about Alex’s overall themes of her talk on JSR’s journey to net zero and JSR Genetics contributions click below:
JSR Farms contribution to reducing our carbon footprint
JSR Farms is an integrated arable business, farming over 3,000 hectares of combinable crops, peas, potatoes. In Alex’s talk she covered several practices the arable business is doing to reduce our carbon footprint.
SUSTAINABLE ARABLE FARMING PRACTICES
JSR use precision farming to optimise input usage and crop yields. The motto “less is more” is how our team operate. With minimal cultivation, the land can be farmed as it needs to be farmed, a winning formula all round.
As an integrated farm we are able to add organic manure back to the soil in the form of our own “Liquid Gold” and “Solid Gold” (slurry and traditional farmyard manure). This has a lower environmental impact and adds important organic matter and microbes back into the soil as well as reducing our reliance on artificial fertiliser.
In return for the manure, all home-grown Wheat, Barley and Rye are fed to our pigs in rations from our well-located feed mill. 80% of our units are within a 10-mile radius of our feed mill which allows a huge saving on transport time and fuel. We personally mill around 90% of the feed we use and are roughly 50% self-sufficient on raw materials. We use our own cereals footprint when accounting for the emissions of pig feed, and our mill runs very efficiently, further reducing emissions from energy.
INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLES
JSR have two wind turbines and a large array of solar panels across the farmland and buildings, with more planned for the future.
Renewables reduce our reliance on grid electricity, increasing our self-sufficiency as well as reducing our carbon footprint.
As a business we are working towards minimising waste and recycling as much as possible. There are recycling bins situated around the farm, it may sound simple but there are an awful lot of plastic bottles and cardboard boxes in farming!
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CONTINUES TO BE IMPORTANT FOR JSR
Wildlife conservation has always been important to JSR, and we continue to create habitats to support and encourage biodiversity of surrounding ecosystems. In the late 70’s and 80’s, whilst farmers were being paid to remove hedges, JSR planted a mile of hedgerows every year for 10 years. We have several wildflower meadows on the farm, moving fields from grass pasture to meadows with over 12 species of wildflowers. We have added pollinator strips to enhance our Oilseed Rape crops and ‘awkward’ corners of fields are left with tussocky grass, creating habitats for voles and in turn are hunting grounds for owls.
We undertake a wildlife survey each June which focusses on increasing the number of indicator species such as barn owls, hedgehogs, brown trout and kingfishers, all of which are increasing in number across the farm.
THE JSR CHALK STREAM SANCTUARY
The Chalk Stream Sanctuary is our latest exciting project here at JSR. The area spans 50 hectares and is home to over 6,000 newly planted trees of multiple species. Chalk streams are globally rare and the two here on the farm are the most northerly in the UK. We have created pond scrapes in low areas to provide extra habitat for wading birds and the surrounding areas are sown with a wildflower mix on a grass base. The main goals of the sanctuary are for wildlife conservation, biodiversity and habitat creation, but it also promotes an all-round boost in our employees mental well-being.
Although the environmental impact of the sanctuary has not yet been captured due to being a new project, we expect the habitat to sequester a significant proportion of carbon.
JSR are committed to practicing sustainable farming methods within our arable business. The environment and conservation has always been important to JSR since it was founded in 1958 and these principles are still at the heart of the business today.
It is a big challenge to get to Net Zero. We accept that we still have a way still to go, but we are on the right track with aims of increasing our self-sufficiency, production efficiency and sustainable practices.