Know How / Environment

Farm payment changes mean that UK farms will need to focus on the environment and help mitigate wildlife habitat loss. Keep up-to-date here on a range of farm environmental matters including climate change, Defra’s greening policies and environmental compliance. Get advice on measures to improve your farm’s environmental credentials through regenerative farming and sustainable practices, such as planting trees, reducing your carbon footprint and reducing waste.

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An egg producer's guide to becoming carbon neutral

Feed has been identified as the major source of carbon emissions in poultry layer flocks in an in-depth study carried out by consultancy firm Promar International and the British Free…


Sussex farm weighs pros and cons of biodiversity pilot scheme

The concept of biodiversity net gain (BNG) will become increasingly familiar over the next few years as developers look for land on which to offset their environmental obligations.  Doing a…


How to establish, manage and rejuvenate hedgerows

Healthy hedges are a lifeline for wildlife, providing food and habitat, including for many of the birds within the Farmland Bird Index as well as for priority mammal species in…


Environmental pig permits: Everything you need to comply

Pig farmers must comply with new requirements for environmental permits from 21 February, with key changes relating to slurry store coverage and ammonia emissions reporting. With an increasing number of…


How to accurately measure the organic carbon content of soil

How to measure organic carbon in soils and, even more importantly, accurately measure how it changes over time, are major challenges in the potential development of new income streams for…


Biodiversity net gain – what is it, how will it work?

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) requires the effect on biodiversity of a new development to be quantified, and following development, the overall amount of natural habitat to be enhanced and left…

Case studies

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Dairy's chemical-free disinfectant delivers multiple benefits

A dairy farm in Norfolk has replaced chemical disinfectants with a system using only water and low-voltage electricity. This has helped reduce the farm’s carbon footprint, improved cow health, delivered…


How on-farm interventions keep soil and water in place

A whole-farm approach to water management has seen a Norfolk estate introduce measures that have returned 45m litres of water to the environment. Working with the Norfolk Rivers Trust as…


How a beef farm manages environmentally sensitive grazing

Grazing in an environmentally sensitive way is not new for Farmers Weekly’s 2020 Beef Farmer of the Year, James Waight, who farms 4,400ha (10,868 acres) of some of the highest…


How mixed low-input farming can help grassland biodiversity

Gloucestershire farmer Ian Boyd has turned his intensively farmed arable land into wildflower meadows and introduced herbal leys into the cropping rotation. This has enabled him to tap into environmental…


How a mixed farm uses a regenerative system to combat weather

The last two seasons have really tested just how resilient both Edwin Taylor’s soils and farming business are to the effects of the climate. Farming 800ha at 230m above sea…


How beef farmers globally are adapting to survive

With increasing market volatility and extreme weather, how can UK beef producers adapt to survive? We speak to three beef breeders from Australia and the US to find out how…


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Trees can earn more than wheat under new planting scheme

Farmers are being urged to crack on with tree planting sooner rather than later, with the suggestion that grants under the new England Woodland Creation Offer (Ewco) are “as good…


Will soil carbon be the next big crop for growers?

It feels like a perfect storm: the urgency of climate change, the global surge in interest in regenerative agricultural practices and the need for new income streams. They are all…


How the UK's first soil carbon mapping service works

The UK’s first carbon mapping service, capable of providing an accurate baseline measure of soil carbon levels, is now available to farmers. The technology, known as Terramap Carbon, will gauge…


How poultry assurance scheme can slash permit costs

Poultry farms with more than 40,000 bird places could save £940/year on Environment Agency (EA) charges by signing up to a new assurance scheme. Farms with units of this size…


Farming rules for water: What’s in store?

The farming rules for water regulations (2018) (FRfW) were introduced to create a national baseline for good farm practices. They require land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse…

Latest environment news

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Empower farmers to carry out water and flood management - CLA

Government agencies must work more closely with farmers and landowners, and empower them to carry out low-risk flood defence work, according to a new report released by the Country Land…


Farm donates £25k to charity after drought water abstraction

An Essex-based farming company has donated £25,000 to a wildlife charity after it abstracted water during a period of dry weather. Strutt & Parker (Farms), of Whitbread Farm Lane, Chatham…


Farmer-led groups 'vital' to devise future climate policy

Scotland’s new cabinet secretary for rural affairs has pledged to work with farmer-led groups to develop ways Scottish farmers and crofters can cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.…


Sea eagle arrival on Loch Lomond prompts farmer fears

Scottish farmers in the Loch Lomond area of Scotland, to the north of Glasgow, have been advised to watch their sheep flocks carefully following the arrival of a breeding pair…


Red Tractor paperwork crucial to access biofuels market

Arable farmers will have to produce new “mass balance” figures – essentially stock and movement records – from 1 July, in order to achieve Red Tractor status to supply the…


Wildcats and golden eagles could be reintroduced in England

Wildcats and golden eagles are among the species that could be reintroduced to England as the government steps up its wildlife recovery project. A new group, run by Natural England,…


Welsh landowners face action over ‘illegal’ river works

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says it is taking enforcement action against landowners who have carried out illegal work on rivers and streams after using satellite imagery to gather evidence. Although…


‘Long way to go’ before carbon accounting is fit for purpose

Farmers have been told there is still “a long way to go” before the carbon trading market is fit for purpose as part of agriculture’s solutions to mitigate climate change.…


Draft law moves E10 biofuel boost closer

Higher inclusion rates of crop-based bioethanol in petrol have moved a step closer after draft legislation was pushed through parliament. The current maximum crop-based rate is restricted to 5% by…


NI Assembly climate change bill would hit farmers hard

Politicians in Northern Ireland have voted in support of a private member’s bill on climate change which, if passed into law, could undermine much of the province’s livestock farming. The…


Livestock targeted as UN seeks lower methane emissions

Agriculture has a key role to play in reducing global methane emissions, so limiting the climate change impact of one of the most potent greenhouse gases, a new UN report…


£500,000 funding available to help farmers plant hedgerows

A £500,000 Farming Hedgefund is available for farmers in England to plant new hedges, hedgerow trees and gap planting. The Tree Council is leading Close the Gap, a partnership project, with a…


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Video: How sustainable farming is benefiting Scottish family

A Highland Perthshire farmer has brilliantly captured the positive effects sustainable agriculture is having on his family’s farm in Scotland. Patrick Barbour’s innovative three-minute video, filmed at Mains of Fincastle,…


Video: Harvest on carbon-neutral OSR grower's farm

Duncan Farrington, an arable farmer in Northamptonshire, who produced the world’s first carbon- and plastic-neutral food product, has now completed harvest of his 36ha of rapeseed where the hybrid variety…


Video: Farmer appeals for 'common sense' after crop flooded

Worcestershire grower Michael Lewis' recently drilled crop of spring wheat has been ruined by the floods. After wet weather scuppered his chances of drilling wheat last autumn, Mr Lewis took…


Video: Farmers in race to save in-lamb ewes from floods

A farming family in Herefordshire devastated by heavy flooding have described the race against time to save heavily in-lamb sheep from drowning. When lambing sheds housing 250 ewes began to…