We recognise our responsibility to environmental sustainability at local, regional and global levels and our requirement to comply with all relevant environmental legislation and codes of good practice.
The college farm's 890 acres, split between arable and grassland, supports many enterprises typical of the area. The farm is at the heart of Bishop Burton College, which is England's National Centre of Vocational Excellence for Agriculture.
With a fleet of the latest machinery and highly experienced farm staff, we pride ourselves on giving our students as much hands-on experience as possible, from milking the cows to training for forklift and sprayer certificates.
The college holds an annual Stockmanship competition, which is organised by staff to introduce students to the showing of stock and the husbandry techniques required to keep their animals in top condition. Classes include equine, dairy, beef, sheep and calf.
Students are also encouraged to show college stock at external events such as Countryside Live and agricultural shows including Great Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Driffield.
The college farm operates in a commercial environment and so is subject to the same market forces as everyone else.
The unit has been totally redesigned with pig health, welfare and performance as priorities. Our 'farrowing village' is a first, with sows farrowing outdoors in pig arcs within the unit.
Pigs are straw-bedded throughout and the unit is managed to the standards required of the RSPCA Freedom Foods scheme.
There are 216 sows and gilts, with 18 sows farrowing every two weeks in a batch system.
Our location here in East Yorkshire is normally an ideal climate for producing high yields of combinable crops. Soil types vary from chalky wold to medium heavy loams.
To assist farmers with the new agronomy approaches, the college is an Agrii iFarm and Northern Development Trial Site. Regular meetings take place, which senior students attend, where farmers, agronomists, machinery manufacturers and other specialists come together to discuss new management approaches and share best practice.
Trials are ongoing, with Agrii looking into new varieties, drilling and establishment techniques and spray recommendations. The college has large plots dedicated to trial crops and conducts regular visits from farmers, food producers and industry bodies to monitor the success of the trials.
We have a herd of circa 150 cows, mainly Holstein and some Brown Swiss Cross, producing 1.15million litres of milk per year. The herd calves all year round in order to provide a level production pattern to meet local demand. All recent investment has been designed to further improve cow welfare, particularly aimed at reducing the incidence of lameness and mastitis. All replacements are home-bred and reared.
The flock consists of circa 450 ewes, predominantly North of England Mule and some Lleyn and Texel crosses. The entire flock lambs from March onwards.
The sheep building houses in-lamb ewes from early winter up to lambing in March and beyond.
The key to the system is keeping bought-in feed costs to a minimum, particularly after recent price rises.
We opened a new beef unit in 2011 complete with state-of-the-art handling facilities. This is used to produce dairy-cross beef animals from our own dairy unit, and pure-bred Limousin and Hereford cross beef animals from our newly-formed suckler herd.
The majority of our beef animals are for sale to Dunbia, a quality meat retailer based in Lancashire.
Bishop Burton College farm adopted the principles of integrated farm management many years ago. We have been members of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) since 1996. Our policy is to take a holistic approach to the management of all aspects of the farm, to the betterment of the environment, livestock and business.
The college farm is a genuinely mixed operation, with crop rotations planned to maintain soil, plant and animal health. A recent evolution, for example, has been to reintroduce two-year grazing grass leys on to the arable farm, and to cease the use of rented-in permanent grass for sheep production. This will:
Another example is that all manure and slurry (solid gold and liquid gold) is returned to land, at the optimum time to the optimum crops, resulting in very high average yields, minimal pollution and a drastically reduced carbon footprint, as bought-in nitrogen fertiliser quantities are 40% less than intensive arable units of similar scale. No phosphate or potash fertiliser is bought in.
Our arable and grassland co-exist, with woodland, sensitively managed hedgerows and non-cropped areas, among many other voluntary measures, aimed at protecting the environment and a range of habitats as well as increasing biodiversity.