As we approach the end of our bareroot season, we have been busy shipping the last orders until Autumn – although we will still be processing and dispatching up until the end of March. We are planning a small retail area on the edge of the Ledene Golf Centre car park which neighbours our tree nursery. There will be a staggering variety of very reasonably priced potted trees and some shrubs for sale. These can of course be transplanted throughout the Spring and Summer.
Last week I attended the Energy and Rural Business Show Energy Now Expo in Peterborough. The conference was dedicated to the growth of renewable energy within agricultural communities and focused on the latest renewable energy opportunities, energy efficiency and energy generation. There is huge interest in the role of renewable energy in reducing carbon emissions amongst farmers and landowners; clearly any financial support for agricultural families going forward will depend on how carbon efficient individual farming enterprises can be. Apparently, all farms are to be benchmarked in the future – a job not for the faint hearted!
One major opinion that I took away from the conference was that farming businesses could be required to return large areas of grassland into their rotation and bring back cows to graze. The stiffening of backs amongst my fellow attendees was not a result of arthritis or bulging discs but rather a realisation that if we were hearing correctly cows are to be exonerated. Apparently, experts are now suggesting that the Co2 produced by a cow is not lasting in the atmosphere. I am struggling to keep up with the merry go round of opinions being offered. I honestly feel that over my 50 years of farming we keep returning to the same position from where we started in the late 1960s being advised by experts to leave the old ways behind if we are to survive in agriculture.
An important part of the discussion focused on the benefits that hedgerows and trees have on reducing carbon emissions. Putting into perspective the scale of tree planting required in the UK we were advised that an area the size of Lincolnshire would need to be turned over to tree planting to reduce the UK net zero policy by 2050!
Another major issue reiterated at the conference was to reduce/restrict chemical fertiliser because of the serious effects the gasses released from unused nitrogen into the atmosphere have on our environment. Our tree nursery is completely free of chemicals and we need to get the message out to all tree planters who are trying to protect our environment that they should be planting organically grown trees and hedges. Surely planting a huge number of trees grown using chemical fertilisers is very likely to negate the benefits that we are so keen to bring about?