I first came into contact with LEAF through our contract with Birds Eye and then joined in my own right in 2002, soon after I took over the farm tenancy. One of the biggest benefits of LEAF membership is the LEAF Audit. As well as giving you a head start with new environmental regulations, it also helps you think objectively about your whole business and consider where you can make improvements.
Some of the changes we’ve made as a result of doing the LEAF Audit include:
- Moving from a wholly plough based system to using non-inversion tillage, cultivating only the top 9 to 10 inches, this has really improved our soil structure.
- Rethinking our nutrient use. The LEAF Audit encouraged us to view manure as a valuable nutrient bank, instead of a waste product. We now target our applications to where they are needed most which has reduced our fertiliser costs considerably.
- Targeting our agrochemicals much more accurately. We now think more about pest threshold levels and only spray if we really have to. The environment benefits as well as our bottom line.