Nurturing Natural Resources
Living in the heart of Somerset is a privilege. One we’ll never take for granted. We understand this beautiful region gives us so much. So we do everything we can to take care of it. Our goal is to create a sustainable working farm, harnessing our natural resources to source our electricity and gas from both solar and biogas, generated from farm and dairy waste.
Click on the icons to discover what makes our farm 100% green
With all our electric and gas coming from solar and AD generation, our award-winning cheese and butter is ‘100% Green’ in terms of energy. We upgrade and inject 7 million cubic metres of green gas to grid saving up to 15 million kgs CO₂ per year and the two combined heat and power plants (CHP’s) are running on Biogas generating over 8 million kWh electric saving >5 million kgs CO₂ per year. It does not end there though; in our production, we don’t waste the energy that we generate. We minimise waste and packaging, recover heat and in all that we do with our aim to achieve a Net Positive process.
Sustainable Dairy Farming
Through our Wyke Farms ‘Net Positive Farming’ Pillar Farmer Programme we are driving environmental best practice and improvements in key areas on our farms including feed, soil and land, manure, and energy management. Collaborating with our farmers we are co-funding energy surveys with improvement plans. On farm carbon footprint audits have been built into our work and in 2021 35 of our supplier farms were surveyed to assess the on-farm carbon footprint of milk production. The results found that the Wyke Farms Pilot Group was 20% lower than the UK national average *¹. In 2022, we are auditing more of our suppliers and undertaking a soil sampling pilot programme on our farms to understand and unlock the value of soil carbon as a natural climate solution, so that we can assess the potential value that the soil holds as a huge, untapped natural carbon sink.
*¹1.12 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM, significantly lower than the UK average of 1.55 kgCO₂(e)/kgFPCM. Ecoinvent Data 3.7.1.
We have Solar PV Arrays fitted to our farm roof tops. When the milk comes out of the cow it is at body temperature and needs cooling very quickly to keep it fresh. We do this by using ice water and heat exchangers. On the sizzling summer days, the ice banks need to work extremely hard to cool the milk, these sunny days are exactly when the solar panels produce the most power. Can there ever be a better fit for renewable energy? We don’t think so! In addition to the farms, we have a 166kWhP Solar PV Array fitted to our new, highly efficient maturation and dispatch store rooftops providing green electrical energy for the production facility. There is a heat exchanger on the fridge compressors that generates hot water from the green electrical energy for the packing areas and offices. Our farm and production roof solar project has a target to reach 2MW per hour peak, saving over one million kgs CO₂ per year.
We run electric cars and vans powered by solar generated electric for travelling around the farm and for local shop deliveries. We are working towards using compressed biomethane for milk tankers and trucks used to transport our award-winning cheese to our maturation stores.
Water – A finite resource
As farmers we see first-hand how the changing climate affects weather patterns. Although we get the same amount of rain as we used to, it is more erratic, arriving in heavier, shorter bursts, so it runs off, rather than percolating into the soil and raising the water table. Experts have predicted this to get increasingly more common, leading to droughts and water shortage. We have a high requirement for water on our farms and in our cheesemaking so it is important that we do what we can to mitigate our impact. We have rainwater harvesting on our milking parlours for washing equipment, we recover condensate from processing milk and have a state-of-the-art Water Recovery Membrane Plant that enables us to recover over 70% of the water used in our dairy.