We believe that farming sustainably naturally increases efficiency.
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 by 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 our success has been embracing new, high-tech farming methods.
To combat the harsh economic challenges we have all faced over the last two decades, Apsley Farms has put efficiency and sustainability at the heart of everything we do.
We try to see these challenges as the drivers for improved efficiency and, therefore, a more sustainable future.
We invested in cutting edge precision farming equipment which provides significant benefits, including:
- Greatly reduced soil disturbance (reduced tillage).
- Reducing the number of tractor operations which in turn minimises compaction during crop establishment.
- Precise, therefore reduced application of manufactured fertilisers to the growing crops.
Using advanced farming technology
Precision farming vastly improves the efficiency of farming a field, and ensures that the crop is as profitable as possible. We use satellite controlled (RTK) systems on our vehicles which allow us to control the steering. By using this technology, we can match each field pass to the previous one with 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 reduce operator fatigue and operational mistakes during repetitive tasks.
In addition, the technology we use 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
- Using less maintenance parts, 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
- Reduction of carbon footprint
- Efficient engines reducing the fuel per horsepower used
- Reducing of harmful exhaust particulate matter
- 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 is a by-product of biogas production and has been approved by the Soil Association for use on organic ground. When used as a soil improver and liquid plant feed, our products have proven to deliver valuable nutrients, improve soil structure and reduce the need for manufactured fertiliser and chemicals required on the farm. They can now do the same when used on home gardens and allotments.
Energy to power Apsley Farms.
Our Biodigesters produce both biogas and sustainable electricity. Not only is this energy sold into the national grid, we also use it to power our Anaerobic Plant operation; also for the domestic and commercial properties on the estate. 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
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 digestate is spread on our own farm, as well as numerous other farms that supply our digesters with crop. This reduces the need for manufactured fertilisers, therefore lowering our crop establishment costs and also reducing the CO2 produced during this process. The environmental benefits have also been apparent since we started using our digestate, with a noticeable return of birds and other wildlife.
Healthy farm land in the UK helps to foster communities of microorganisms, which supports insect life and, therefore, provides food for mammals and birds. By spreading our nutritious by-products back on our land, we’re not only reducing our carbon emissions, but also supporting our ecosystem.
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, and helping our approach towards net zero.