Farm Net Zero Event hosted at Trefranck Farm

We at Trefranck Farm were thrilled to host the recent Farm Net Zero event in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund. We were proud to welcome guests to our 400-acre farm where we run 1000 NZ Romney sheep and 500 Red deer. It was an excellent opportunity to showcase our commitment to sustainable and responsible farming practices and support national research where possible.

The event addressed the impact of agriculture on biodiversity and the importance of creating healthy ecosystems. Insect life plays a crucial role in any ecosystem, and anthelmintics used to treat gastrointestinal parasites can harm insects, including dung beetles. To combat this, we have been selecting for resilience to parasitic worms in our stud flock. We use Faecal Egg Counts (FECs) to identify sheep that require treatment and have combined it with lamb growth rates to ensure that our flock stays healthy and efficient. By reducing anthelmintic use, we have created a healthier flock and preserved the effectiveness of anthelmintics.

Our vet, Tim Bebbington of Castle Veterinary Group, shared with the audience the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) principles, which focus on targeted anthelmintic use. The principles include dosing only the animals that require treatment, applying the correct dose based on the weight of the animal, and determining the type of parasite through a FEC. By adopting these practices, we have reduced the use of worm treatments and saved money while preserving the effectiveness of anthelmintics.

The highlight of the event was a talk by entomologist Sally-Ann Spence of the Oxford Natural History Museum, who enlightened us about dung beetles and led a dung beetle hunt. The UK has many dung beetle species, with half of them under threat of extinction. Dung beetles play a crucial role in our farm ecosystem by starting the dung decomposition process, which helps reduce parasite burdens. They also aerate the soil, improve drainage, and improve soil fertility and carbon trapping. We learned that it’s important to have some stock out all year round to support the dung beetle population.

We were delighted to host the Farm Net Zero event and contribute to the promotion of sustainable farming practices. Our team at Trefranck Farm is committed to responsible farming and supporting national research wherever possible. We are grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for their support of the Farm Net Zero project, which has made events like this possible.

Contact Us