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Water: Dyson Farming’s Approach To Protecting This Critical Natural Resource

Water: Dyson Farming’s Approach To Protecting This Critical Natural Resource

Water: Dyson Farming's Approach To Protecting This Critical Resource

The importance of water

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water”.  As WH Auden wrote, water is critical to life. 

Here at Dyson Farming, water is an important part of our natural resources.  It sits alongside soil, air, and biodiversity on the farms, all of which contribute to our natural capital account, produced annually, to ensure that how we farm protects and enhances our farming environment.

The quality and availability of water that flows through our farms affect our ability to grow crops, raise livestock and nurture other plants and wildlife.  It also impacts the quality of drinking water that eventually flows through the taps into households.  How we monitor and manage water is therefore essential. 

Managing and monitoring water quality

At the heart of our approach is analysing water quality before it enters and as it leaves via the watercourses that flow between our fields.  This gives us a better understanding of the impact farming practices have on water quality and on the surrounding environment.

We base our farming practices on Integrated Farm Management.  This combines modern technology and traditional methods to increase farm production whilst protecting vital resources such as water.  For example, ‘precision farming’ technology means we can apply plant protection products to specific plants as opposed to whole fields, dramatically reducing usage.  Similarly, water courses are surrounded by uncropped ‘buffer-strips’ of land and other field margins which protect water courses and provide a continuous corridor of habitat and forage for wildlife.

Recently, water analysis was undertaken on six watercourses across the Lincolnshire Estate at Nocton Fen, Dunston Beck, Cranwell, Stubton, Carrington and Edlington.  We worked with Anglian Water to agree a suite of indicators, which they typically use at their water treatment works to measure water quality.  Nitrate, phosphate, biological oxygen demand, suspended solids and plant protection products were assessed at the Anglian Water laboratories. Overall, we are pleased to report that the results showed that water quality across the estate is good.

Example of water sampling at Carrington:

Example of water samples collected and stored, ready for analysis. 

As Dr Tom Storr, Dyson Farming’s Research Agronomist explains: 

“The water leaving the fields contained nitrate levels below the drinking water limit and phosphate was either in the good or high standard category. Water was clear and had a low biological oxygen demand too.”

“We plan to continue our partnership with Anglian Water, measuring the water quality on an annual basis during the winter period when the drainage from the fields is high.  By monitoring our water resources, we can be confident that everything is being done to protect and enhance the water quality on our farms, which will benefit the environment, wildlife and the produce we grow for our customers.”

Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Simulated Game Shooting

Simulated Game Shooting

Find out all about the most recent developments at Dyson Farming

Simulated Game Shooting

At Dyson Farming we encourage people from all backgrounds and interests to come and enjoy the beautiful countryside where we farm. Whether it is taking a leisurely walk on our permissive footpaths, cycling or fishing, there are lots of ways for individuals or groups to enjoy the fresh air. Our latest offering is a simulated game shooting day which provides exclusive access for shooting enthusiasts or novices across a variety of locations on our Lincolnshire Estate.
Along with truly spectacular countryside scenery, our invitation offers a day for you as an individual participant or for a group of up to fifteen friends or colleagues to enjoy an unforgettable simulated game shooting experience. This is ideal for both newcomers and those experienced in game shooting. Our Stands will recreate game drives which can include, but are not limited to, Pheasant, Partridge, Duck Flush and Roost shoot. The day includes breakfast rolls & hot beverages on arrival, elevenses and a full lunch.
Our first simulated game shooting day was held on the 17th April 2021 and we welcomed a great team of guns around the Dyson Farming Nocton Estate. There were some excellent shots, and we had the weather to match. The day was a great success and we were extremely pleased with the feedback such as:
“Enjoyed our simulated clay day, it was a treat to be out and about in the Lincolnshire countryside, ride on the shoot bus with tour talk by Thomas Wilks”
“A great day had by all our team. Hospitality 2nd to none with plenty of clays! Much appreciated by us all. A fantastic venue and we will certainly be back. Well done to all involved at @DFLCottages@DysonFarming.  Thank you very much.”
If you are interested in enquiring about a simulated game shooting day, please contact leisure@dysonfarming.com
Proof of a valid and current gun license will be required.
Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Beeswax Dyson Farming Changes Its Name To Dyson Farming

Beeswax Dyson Farming Changes Its Name To Dyson Farming

Beeswax Dyson Farming Changes Its Name To Dyson Farming

From the 22nd March 2021, Beeswax Dyson Farming will become Dyson Farming, reflecting the growing symbiotic relationship between the Dyson technology business and the farms.

To cement this relationship, what was previously known as Beeswax Dyson Farming will now become simply, Dyson Farming.

As Sir James Dyson explains:

“I’m excited about the future of agriculture, despite the undoubtedly significant challenges it faces. The increasingly symbiotic relationship between our technology business and our farms will, I hope, yield novel approaches to drive sustainability and performance. Material science, energy creation and energy storage are at the core of this, and farming has much to give – growing materials and creating energy that can be used in a wider range of products. The parallels between the two businesses are greater than you might think since the future for both is dependent on investment in research, development, and continual improvement.”

Since its inception, Beeswax Dyson Farming has built up a strong reputation in the farming industry for being innovative, well-respected farmers.  Dyson is synonymous with technological innovation.  Combining the two paves the way for an exciting future.

The name change signposts the Dyson family’s ambitions for the farm and determination to realise the potential benefits of close working between technology and farming.

Sir James concludes:

“Sustainable food production, food security and our environment are vital to the nation’s health and the nation’s economy; there is a real opportunity for agriculture to drive a revolution in technology and vice versa.  Dyson Farming is developing new approaches to efficient, high-technology agriculture, which we hope will lead to a commercially sustainable future.”

Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Dunston Beck Project

Dunston Beck Project

Find out all about the most recent developments at Dyson Farming

Dunston Beck Project

Dyson Farming have been collaborating with the Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust, designing a scheme on Dyson Farming land to carry out some improvement works to the Dunston Beck. The project is taking place on a 3-hectare parcel of land bounded by Dunston Fen Lane to the north, Prior Lane to the west and the Dunston Beck to the south and east.
The aim is to improve the Beck and adjacent land for the benefit of wildlife, by mitigating the historic impacts of land drainage where the Beck has been straightened, widened and deepened.
Through sensitive excavation, bends will be put back into the channel creating a variety in depths and flow patterns to filter the sands and gravels on the riverbed, improving water quality. The land alongside the beck is being lowered to different heights, allowing it to become wetter at different times according to the Beck’s water level. This creates a mosaic of habitats ranging from marshy wetland to drier meadow areas.
Seeding and planting with locally sourced, native plants and carefully managed grazing, will ensure a rich and diverse flora. In turn, this benefits insects and other invertebrates which pollinate not only wildflowers but also nearby crops.
The groundworks are starting at the beginning of February 2021 and are expected to take 4 – 6 weeks to complete. This follows several months of design and planning work. Ecological surveys have been carried out to ensure the existing wildlife on the site is not harmed. Archaeological surveys have been carried out and the works will be overseen by a specialist in this field.
This is an exciting project, watch this space for further developments!
Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Stubton Soils Report

Stubton Soils Report

Over the past eight years at Dyson Farming, much work has been focused on improving the various aspects of soil health including pH, organic matter and nutrient content. Green Crop Information were asked to complete an assessment to determine the impact of our soil improvement strategy.

Our results have shown that the investment in organic materials (all except AD liquid were sourced externally) has brought about some substantial improvements in our soils at Stubton. Most notably, the soil pH and phosphorus index have improved. BDFL will continue to implement a range of soil management practices to improve soils for resilient crop production, carbon sequestration and environmental benefits.

To find out more download our latest Stubton Soils Report

 

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Harvest 2020

Harvest 2020

Much has been written about the difficulties of the 2020 harvest and no doubt more will be penned going forward as the reality of the yields and costs hit profit and loss accounts in the next 12 months.

Cereal crop output is significantly below the company average both in terms of area planted and ultimate crop yield. Around 20% of the winter wheat area was planted in the Autumn of 2019 with the remaining area either planted in the spring or switched to alternative crops. Much has been learned about what works and what doesn’t and the farming team are embracing and implementing change to increase operational resilience.

Lincolnshire cereals were most affected by weather, particularly wet planting conditions. Gloucestershire was more impacted by summer drought as you would expect from a brash soil type. The Oxfordshire farms have performed well with 100% of the intended area planted and a reasonable crop yield.

Spring barley results across the company are good with most crops producing malting quality. Some “Cinderella crops” planted late on heavy land elevated themselves to harvestable crops whereas they were originally intended as cover crop. Applications of digestate improved performance of crops. Cereals as a whole, when taking account of improved prices and savings in direct costs are close to budget.

OSR performance is poor despite the best efforts of the management team who have looked at all areas to mitigate the impact of cabbage stem flea beetle. BDFL are not growing the crop in the current season, however Green Crop Information are looking closely at this issue to try and determine what can be done to grow the crop reliably in the future.

Vining peas have been the worst affected crop with total revenue 35% below budget. Planting conditions for the crop were good but high temperatures hampered crop growth across all soil types and yields were very disappointing.

Energy and forage crop yields are a mixed bag with maize performing close to budget, with a large range of yields, whereas rye and barley yields are poor

Potato crops have performed well with good yield and quality.

 

 

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Carbon Capture

Carbon Capture

At Dyson Farming, we have developed and implemented our own approach to carbon management which is now an integral part of our every-day farming activities and fundamental to how we monitor and measure performance. Crucially, this has taught us that by challenging ourselves to become better farmers, we can continue to have a positive impact on our carbon footprint.

Our results are really positive, BDFL sequesters 13,587T CO2 equivalent each year – the ability to sequester carbon is largely the result of careful management of natural capital alongside  renewable energy production and the use of non-chemical fertilisers.

To find out more download our latest Carbon Report.

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GOLD award winners

GOLD award winners

We are very proud that our roasting joints, ribeye and sirloin steaks have recently been recognised as GOLD award winners at the Taste of the West Awards. Our beef is produced at Hinton Farm in Somerset.

We believe our meat is special, not only because it tastes great, but we also have an interesting story to tell. Our overall farming ethos is to create a long term, regenerative model that will leave a positive land legacy now and in 100 years’ time. Our farming practices have been designed to protect and improve animal wellbeing and to look after the environment.

We breed primarily for the welfare of the animals, raising animals with excellent health characteristics which are then passed on to their offspring, ensuring that during their life, common ailments are minimised along with the need for prophylactic medication. We believe that this leads to a much higher quality product with meat cuts that are tender and flavoursome.

Both our sheep and cattle graze parkland and pasture for most of the year helping to manage the floral diversity of these areas and returning valuable nutrients and bacteria to the soil. Once the weather turns cold and wet the cattle are then housed in a state-of-the-art facility and fed on crops grown on our farms. The sheep are only housed during the lambing season to ensure that we can provide optimum care during this period. Data is at the heart of what we do, it allows us to track the life history of every animal to ensure each individual receives tailored health care and we can reassure our customers that the meat we supply comes only from our farm.

Through environmental stewardship or voluntary initiatives all our cropped land has a programme in place to increase biodiversity and protect natural resources. As well as directly benefiting the local wildlife, these measures also contribute to carbon sequestration and play a significant role in supporting our business as we progress beyond a carbon neutral operating status.

 

Our meat can be ordered online to be delivered direct to your door, packaged in sustainable sheep’s wool insulation.

Sign up here for 10% off your first order!

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Public Access

Public Access

As we take the first tentative steps toward an easing of the COVID – 19 restrictions we hope that more of you are now able to enjoy the health and well-being benefits of spending time in the countryside.

Dyson Farming actively manages 68km of public rights of way and permissive access routes. These traverse some spectacular farmed landscapes and environmental conservation areas. Our stewardship schemes and voluntary initiatives cover 1,235ha of environmental features and sensitive habitat so we do ask that you help us protect these areas by sticking to the designated footpaths and keeping dogs under close control, which is particular important for ground nesting birds.

We must also request that dogs are kept under control near to livestock – the welfare of our animals is really important to us and we hope you feel the same.

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Fruity Future

Fruity Future

We are excited to announce that Dyson Farming has been granted permission to construct a state of the art 6ha glasshouse with associated infrastructure at our farm in Carrington. This is a big step toward achieving our ambition for a high output, lower input farming model with technology and data at the core.

Strawberries and other soft fruit will be grown utilising heat generated by our anaerobic digester which already provides electricity for nearly 8000 homes. This green energy source will allow us to grow over 600 tonnes of great British produce throughout the year.

As well as heat and power the digester also converts crops such as maize, barley and rye into an organic fertiliser that can provide optimum nutrition for the glass house crops reducing our dependency on chemical fertiliser. The high-tech led lighting system will allow crops to be grown throughout the year reducing the UK’s reliance on imported produce.

The site will encompass a processing facility which has been flexibly designed to allow the processing and packaging of other products in the future. The facility will create around 60 full time jobs covering a range of roles including management, technicians, logistics, and processing. All this means a boost for the local economy with much of the initial project fund being spent with contractors from this region. CambridgeHOK have been appointed as Principle Designer and will oversee the installation and commissioning of the glasshouse facility.  The company, based in East Yorkshire, are specialists in the design and construction of glasshouses, vertical farming, R&D/educational facilities and portal frame buildings.

In around 12 months’ time Dyson Farming strawberries will be available at a range of outlets across the country.