Dairy farmers scoop green award
A north Norfolk dairy farmer with a passion for the environment has been named as the greenest in the country.Stephen and Catherine Temple's dairy farm in Wighton, near Wells, uses everything from simple measures like low-energy light bulbs and travelling where bicycle where possible, to a massive biogas plant which turns slurry and other farm waste into heat and electricity.
A north Norfolk dairy farmer with a passion for the environment has been named as the greenest in the country.
Stephen and Catherine Temple's dairy farm in Wighton, near Wells, uses everything from simple measures like low-energy light bulbs and travelling where bicycle where possible, to a massive biogas plant which turns slurry and other farm waste into heat and electricity.
Their efforts have won them Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers' farm energy efficiency award. Today they are heading to Barcelona to the Geronimo energy conference, to learn more about energy efficiency and find out if they have succeeded in the European finals of the prestigious Geronimo Award.
The Temples - who are well known for Mrs Temple's farmhouse cheeses - have spent more than �500,000 on the biogas plant, which was installed this year. It will provide enough heat for the farm, dairy and house, and can even provide warm water for their 95 cows to drink in winter. Later it is hoped that it will be able to refrigerate the cheese rooms and dry crops too.
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They had already installed woodchip boilers, which avoid the need for fossil fuels, and these will be kept as a back-up. They choose the most fuel-efficient farm machinery, and do more than one field operation at a time where possible to save fuel. Mr Temple has also designed a low-energy fan control system for grain stores, which has been taken up by other farmers.
Mr Temple, 60, said: “It is not just important to us, it is important to farming generally that farming is seen to be environmentally friendly. Farmers have to work with nature. If this encourages other people to do the same that will be great.”
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Because of their innovations the Temples had no need of the prize, which was a hot water system, so they will win a variable speed vacuum pump instead. It helps them to save electricity because it does not runn at full speed all the time during milking.
The competition's runner-up was Hugh McClymont from Dumfries. Judge and RABDF technical and policy adviser, Tom Rabbetts, said: “Each of the two finalists demonstrated how they had successfully implemented energy efficiency on their farm. However, Mr Temple had the edge.”
They do farm walks and open days to spread the word about what they are doing, and also do talks to Women's Institutes, schools and Rotary clubs.
Mrs Temple, 50, said: “The message is, hey you can do this too. We welcome strangers in. Lots of people ring up and want to see what we are doing here, and we welcome that.”
“For Stephen and I it is just a passion we for being green. We are pleased, because we hope more people will wake up and realise they can help the environment by doing these things.”