After the success of their recent farm walk in Kell’s, Co. Antrim the ARCZero project have announced a further two to be held in June on the farms of Simon Best (17th) and John Egerton (21st)
Over 130 people attended the last farm walk held at the Bell’s sheep farm with an interest in finding out how the Bells emissions are 28% lower than the average of all sheep farms who have benchmarked with AgreCalc. There were speakers from ARCZero, CAFRE, Queen’s University as well as the Multi-Species Swards EIP Project sharing their knowledge and experiences and taking part in robust discussion during the Q&A Sessions.
ARCZero, a farmer-led, European Innovation Partnership Project funded by DAERA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development led by Professor John Gilliland of Devenish is doing just that, by creating a robust baseline of both emissions and carbon stocks on the seven farms of its members.
Comprised of seven innovative farmers from across Northern Ireland ARCZero is working together with academic and industry partners including Devenish, Queen’s University, AgriSearch and Birnie Consultancy.
The next farm walk will be held as part of the upcoming Open Farm Weekend on Friday 17th June 2020 at Acton House Farm, Poyntzpass, Co. Armagh and will leave at 4:30pm. Farmed by Simon Best alongside his father John and brother Rory, the farm consists of around 1200-acres of predominantly arable land, as well as an Aberdeen Angus herd and green waste composting facility.
The Best family understands the importance of environmental standards and Simon and his family have been involved in agri-environment schemes for over 20-years, increasing hedgerows, planting trees, and managing soil health and water quality on the farm. Simon is a member of both a CAFRE Arable and an Environment Business Development Group. In 2021 Simon was awarded the title of Arable Farmer of the Year for the UK by the Farmers Weekly.
The second farm walk of the month will be held on Tuesday 21st at Lisnavoe, Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh with groups leaving from 3pm. Hosted by John Egerton, this will be the third in a series of farm walks that are being held in the coming months.
John, with his wife and sons run a suckler enterprise on Lisnavoe Farm, where they have a herd 90 Simmental, Limousin and Saler cows on an autumn-spring calving system, with all progeny either finished through to beef or reared as replacement heifers. In addition to this, John also has a flock of 200 ewes and runs a Blade calf-rearing unit of 500 calves in partnership with ABP. John has been measuring grass growth on his 74-hectare farm in Fermanagh for several years as a management tool to maximise performance from grass. His skills have seen him receiving an award for the Ulster Grassland Farmer of the Year, 2018 as well as being the runner-up in the British Grassland Farmer of the year competition.
At each farm walk delegates will be taken round a series of stops which will include an introduction to ARCZero and the farm, a look at how the greenhouse gas emissions were benchmarked, how above and below ground carbon is measured, the use of soil nutrient and LIDAR data to optimise the use of nutrients and improve water quality and mitigation measures being adopted to lower the farm’s carbon footprint
Everyone is welcome to join either of these walks, but pre-registration is required and can be done via the ARCZero website: www.arczeroni.org