Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Sustainable farming practices

Friday, October 5, 2018

To promote sustainable farming practices, a new funding scheme has been announced under Scotland’s Agri-Environmental Climate Scheme for 2019. The aims of the scheme are to promote land management practices that protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage.

With this in mind, here we will take you through the benefits of sustainable farming practices and which ones you should consider adopting.

As a farmer there are environmental legislations that you must meet in order to run an efficient farm business. It is vital to the running of your farm that these are adhered to - failure to do so could result in large fines or loss of business. It is therefore essential that you find out which permits and licenses you require. A number of agriculture trade associations offer valuable support and information as to what you need to do to become, and remain, compliant.

As well as legislative requirements, sustainable farming practices will also have cost saving benefits for your farm business. You can use our savings calculator to calculate what these savings can will.

The environmental benefits of sustainable farming practices can be just as important. By looking after the land and the surrounding environment, you can ensure that your business continues to thrive. The quality of land and environment has a direct impact on yields so it’s important to look after it. There are many ways in which you can manage and improve your environmental performance.

Now we know why you should adopt sustainable farming practices, let’s take a look at what some of these are…

Water use, management and disposal

Water use and disposal on the farm is a part of operating an agri-business, however by careful management you can reduce costs and lesson the environmental impact.

When it comes to drainage, it is essential that contaminated drainage does not enter watercourses, surface water drains, land drains or groundwater. If you allow any polluting matter to enter surface waters or groundwater, you may be committing a pollution offence.

Read more about preventing water pollution, wastewater management on farms.

Pesticide use

Use of pesticides on your farm is not prohibited, however you must use approved pesticides only. It’s important that you follow the instructions carefully on usage, storage and disposal to minimise your impact on the environment. If you cause any pollution you could face prosecution or a fine.

There are alternative techniques available that will help to reduce the use of pesticides, such as biological and cultural control methods. These include using disease-resistant plant varieties or practicing crop rotation.

Get more information on pesticides and biocides.

Waste management

In the past, agricultural waste has not been covered by general waste controls. However, the same regulations that apply to commercial and industrial waste, now also apply to agricultural waste.

Find out what your responsibilities by reading our agricultural waste guidance or our blog on sustainable waste management.

Sustainable farming practices have many benefits for you, your farming business and the environment. There are so many ways in which you can adopt sustainable farming practices and you will reap the rewards.

For more advice on sustainable farming practices, read our agriculture guidance page.

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