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Improving efficiency & sustainability

Sustainability is at the heart of Apsley Farms

We used the approach in our thinking that in many cases, Farming Sustainably automatically increases efficiency.

Improvements we’ve made to our farming operation

Generating Bio Gas
Recovering and collecting CO2 for commercial use
Optimising crop establishment
Reusing our very nutritious digestate products
Using advanced farming technology
Using surplus energy to power our own operations

For many years, the rising costs of crop establishment have eaten into farmers’ margins, in some cases making arable farming unprofitable. Conventional tillage operations have also had an environmental impact, contributing to CO2 release, disrupting soil structure and ecosystems, increasing waterlogging and potentially contributing to water pollution from run-off nutrients.

Since the 1990s, Apsley Farms has been on a mission to reduce tillage, using good management techniques and equipment choices to produce minimise soil disturbance with a small tilth for crop establishment.

One key to this process has been embracing high-tech and new farming methods.

Farming Sustainably

For the last two decades, Apsley Farms has put efficiency and sustainability at the heart of everything we do to combat the harsh and challenging economic challenges. At Apsley Farms, we try to see these factors as the driving forces for improved efficiency, also contributing to our sustainable future.

Precision Farming

Apsley Farms invested in cutting edge precision farming equipment which significantly reduces the soil disturbance (reduced tillage).

The number of field passes during the crop establishment process.

Also ensure that all chemical inputs and manufactured fertilisers are precisely applied to the growing crops.

Using advanced farming technology

Precision Farming vastly improves the efficiency for the way we farm a field and ensures that the crop is as profitable as possible. We use satellite controlled (RTK) systems on our vehicles during farming operations which allows us to control the steering. By using this technology we can match each field pass to the previous one with an accuracy of 1-2cm, therefore reducing the number of passes required by 30% during crop establishment. Other technologies used include headland turning and implement automation which reduces operator mistakes during repetitive tasks.

In addition, the technology allows boundary and field mapping of all our farmed fields. During the harvest the yield data is recorded, analysed and stored. The data can then be applied to map future farming operations to ensure that every area of a field is achieving a profitable outcome. This includes soil improvers and manufactured fertilisers to ensure that they are distributed effectively, giving the required amount for plant uptake and therefore reducing waste.

Investment in the latest up to date tractors

Economic benefits

  • Lowering operational and maintenance costs
  • Maximising daily outputs
  • Efficient use of labour
  • Up to date modern efficient fuel engines with the ability to use Bio and new generation Gas to Liquid (GTL) fuels
  • Using efficient Tier 4 and Tier 5 modern engines

Environmental benefits

  • Using clean air machines
  • Reduction of carbon footprint using less maintenance parts
  • Efficient engines reducing the fuel per horsepower used
  • Reducing of harmful partial exhaust matter
  • Reduction of harmful exhaust gases
  • Incorporation of exhaust treatment technology using Ad blue injection reducing harmful Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) pollutants
  • Tier 5 Engines reduces harmful NOX and pollutants by 95% compared to older engines

Soil Association Approval

Our digestate from the Bio Gas production has been approved by the Soil Association providing valuable and nutritious digestate as a soil improver and liquid plant feed; improving the soil structure and reducing the need for manufactured fertiliser and chemicals required on the farm

Energy to power Apsley Farms.

Our Bio Digesters, not only produce Bio Gas and sustainable electricity which is sold into the national grid. We use this energy to power our Anaerobic Plant operation and for the domestic and commercial properties. This reduces our reliance and consumption of commercially produced energy, which may be produced using non environmentally friendly fossil fuels.

Earth to earth - reusing our digestate

Specifically, we turn our digestate into two soil improving products: solids which we use as mulch and liquid as plant feed. Both have Soil Association approval for organic use. The mulch is used on our own farm, reducing the need for manufactured fertilisers, therefore lowering our crop establishment costs, also reducing the CO2 escapes. This benefit adds to the CO2 capturing we achieve during our Bio Gas production.  The environmental benefits have also been apparent since we started using our digestate, with a noticeable return of birds and other wildlife.

On the other hand livestock farming produces large quantities of manure which has to be disposed of by spreading over the farmland which also releases CO2. The spreading of manure is the only way available for its disposal. Farm land generally is where wildlife, microorganisms and vegetation begin their cycle of life.

Microorganisms are at the bottom of the food chain; their existence in turn creates small bugs, which provide food for small and large birds. Therefore our Bio Gas energy process is like a large Livestock farmer, where our digestate, which is spread back on the land as a nutritious plant food also assists the creation of wildlife and vegetation without releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.

By selling mulch and plant food commercially, we have created a useful second revenue stream, as well as rolling out the environmental benefits beyond our own farm. Now farmers and other consumers can purchase peat-free soil improvers with no house hold waste content. Through their purchases, they are also supporting the production of green energy from our facility which is also used for Powering Apsley Farms This makes us almost self-sufficient reducing need to use fossil fuel energy for our operation.