By Matt Donald, pig & poultry producer, north Yorkshire
Our sector resilience plan is now produced and available on the NFU website, I urge everyone to take a look, with an open mind. These plans are not something which is legislation, but a means to guide your business closer to net zero as well as streamlining efficiency. Firstly, have you done a carbon calculator? If not, start one to give a baseline, although there are so many options out there, pick the one that works for your business model as we are all unique.
Items within pillar one, this is boosting productivity and reducing emissions, such as flock performance improvements, sometimes need very little investment but with slight changes FCR improvements can reduce feed usage, saving money and carbon. Another example would be efficiency improvements, where better insulation or LED lighting can reduce resource usage, again quick paybacks can be seen due to the inflated energy prices.
Pillar two is carbon sequestration, obviously for stand alone broiler units, this is the most difficult due to lack of land, but those with an opportunity to increase hedgerows or tree planting, there is plenty of funding out there from the woodland trust, without the need for the land being under a stewardship scheme.
Under pillar 3 comes renewables and bioeconomy, green energy use such as solar is one of the fastest returns on investment there is at the moment for poultry, due to the high use in this industry. Barriers such as grid connection are a problem, we have been granted an increase in size of one of our rooftop mounted system up to 90KW form 30KW even when we don’t have three phase. It was worth revisiting as only 3 years ago we were told there was no chance of this.
These are just a handful of examples of business resilience, reducing costs of production is setting you up for long term competitiveness, as well as moving along the net zero path. Just because the phrase ‘net zero’ can sound costly, does not mean this is the case in any way.