Incredible had a really informative visit to Laverstoke Park Farm just outside Overton. It’s unlike most other farms in that everything is sustained on an organic basis from the soil to the plants to the livestock.
That means no artificial fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides (unless biological approved), no routine use of antibiotics. Lots and lots of compost fertilizer is used, over 25,000 tons is produced annually on the farm. For pest control the farm uses is biological (companion planting, natural predators etc.)or approved chemicals (such as sulphur)
Antibiotics are used to treat specific conditions to maintain good animal welfare which may mean the particular animal losing it’s organic status.
After an introductory overview we visited the Soil Laboratory which analyses the quality of both the organic and chemical makeup and structure of soil and compost samples. From there we moved onto the Mozzarella production facility where the buffalo milk is processed.
After a visit to the farm shop we drove past the Norfolk Turkey field (they were all indoors - it was cold) before arriving at the walled garden and orchard. Then onto the egg laying hens, as you can see in fifth photo below, they have a HUGE field to roam across.
After lunch it was onto the vineyard where we could also observe the compost site. Finally to the buffallo dairy to feed the calves and visit a herd just as it was about to go through to be milked. The miking parlour is incredibly clean.
You can download the overview we had: Incredible Edible Visit To Laverstoke Park Farm.
The whole visit was extremely interesting, worthwhile and thought provoking. Yes, organic is more expensive, but it can carry on forever. Conventional, modern farming is enabled by oil and mineral based fertilizer (key elements of which will run out one day) and environmental costs. All good stuff for a healthy debate!
Laverstoke Park Farm has a very and extensive composting facility which is at the heart of much of the organic strategy in place at the farm. The key points are:
- Compost site covers an area of 8 acres
- Site is run under an Environmental Permit issued by the Environment Agency and also to BSI PAS100:2011 and the Compost Quality Protocol (quality standard for compost).┬ Without PAS100:2011 the compost is classified as a waste and is governed by waste regulations.
- Feedstock consists of green waste and manures and we can take up to 40,000 tonnes per annum.
- Green waste shredded, mixed with manure (15%) and placed in a windrow for 8 weeks.
- Temperatures & moisture readings taken daily.
- First 14 days looking for temperatures to be above 55░C to kill pathogens (sanitisation phase). The temperature frequently reaches as high as 70░C.
- Turned 5 times during this period.
- Following 6 weeks temperatures should start to fall and turned further 4 times (stabilisation phase).
- Moisture levels throughout 40-60%, 50% is the optimum.
- Graded at 8 weeks to 0-10mm and 0-25mm. Approx. 25,000tonnes produced per annum, majority applied to farmland at Laverstoke Park.