Mathew Cole ponders benefits of solar panels

Farmers Weekly had a large pull-out section on generating energy, solar panels and the like. We are investigating putting some panels on one of our larger south-facing roofs, so I studied this with interest.


It would be a great use of a dormant resource and let’s hope the numbers stack up. It will certainly help generate enough electricity for the dozens of lamps Gemma has strewn around our house.

What I do have issue with is putting solar panels on perfectly good agricultural land. Good land should be used to grow stuff and this is surely the best use for it. Nature evolved a perfectly good system of turning sunlight into energy when it came up with photosynthesis. All the techno boffins designing these panels are doing a great job, but I am damn sure they won’t beat it. There are surely enough industrial and agricultural buildings, brownfield sites, road verges, deserts and even rocks to put them on without reducing our capacity to feed ourselves?

Neil and I recently appeared on Nigel Slater’s food programme, where our beef and lamb went down really well. It was a great advert for Dartmoor and the grazing animals which deliver this fantastic environment. The only problem was that the good old BBC managed to edit out any mention of Dartmoor Farmers, which was the whole purpose of the exercise.

I mentioned my Whiteface Dartmoor Flock competition last month and was very pleased to be awarded two cups – champion ram and best ewe lambs.

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