RDPE reduces farm’s carbon footprint and bills

RDPE reduces farm’s carbon footprint and bills

A Gloucestershire dairy farm has reduced its electricity bills
by a third, after receiving RDPE funding with the help of Business
Link for specialist equipment designed to increase resource
efficiency.

Rob Harrison, owner of J.E Harrison farm, based near Chipping
Campden, received £7,500 of funding towards a heat recovery unit,
roof water tank and slurry dribble bar earlier this year. The
funding was accessed through Business Link and Natural England as
part of the Resource Efficiency for Farmers (R4F) and Soils for
Profit (S4P) schemes.

Rob Harrison, who took over management of the family farm three
years ago, said: “I already receive funding, organised through
Business Link, to run a discussion group for dairy and grazing
farmers and so when I heard about the R4F and S4P schemes I got in
touch straight away. I’m always interested in opportunities to
enlist support, develop the farm and improve efficiency. As a
result, I was part of the pilot scheme.”

The R4F scheme is an RDPE (Rural Development Programme for
England) programme delivered through Business Link to improve the
water and energy efficiency on farms. Participating farms receive
grant funding of 40 per cent on energy saving equipment. The S4P
scheme, delivered by Natural England, focuses on improving soil
efficiency.

Brian Gilder, Business Link Rural adviser, said: “A consultant
visited J.E Harrison farm to carry out an appraisal and to identify
key areas where resource efficiency could be improved – these can
be as simple as being on the wrong energy tariff or having the
thermostat up too high. It emerged that Rob was using a great deal
of electricity generating hot water and so, amongst other
recommendations, we examined different ways he could bring these
costs down.”

Recommendations were made for Rob to invest in three pieces of
new equipment that would dramatically reduce his electricity and
water bills.

The first is a heat recovery system that capitalises on the heat
generated in the milking process by using it to produce hot water.
This can then be used to wash down the plant, reducing the farm’s
reliance on electricity to heat water.

The second is a roof water tank that means rain water that was
previously wasted can now be reused around the farm, resulting in a
reduction in water bills.

The third piece of equipment is a slurry dribble bar,
recommended as part of the S4P programme, which allows slurry to be
applied directly to the soil, increasing the levels of nutrients
absorbed and reducing the amount of ammonia released into the
atmosphere.

Speaking of the success of the scheme, Rob said: “I’ve seen my
electricity bills reduce by a third, entirely thanks to the heat
recovery unit. With regards to the slurry dribble bar I’ve noticed
a vast improvement in grass quality on the farm. I think it’s
important that farmers realise that there’s money out there that
can help to improve their farms. Business Link help to make people
aware of different funding options and offer expert advice on how
to access it.”

Cows in field with flowers in foreground