A Suffolk family farming business has won a global award for their ingenuity to become a more sustainable dairy farm.
Fen Farm, a third-generation dairy farm milking 300 Montbeliarde cows, is the winner of the global #WeAreDairy Award.
The award was launched by Deosan and Promar in February, with the aim of recognising innovations and improvements being made on dairy farms across the world.
The judging panel was particularly impressed with Fen Farm’s thorough research into each of their sustainability projects.
Their sustainability journey started in 2011, with the installation of solar panels, and in 2019, they laid 1,500 metres of water pipes into a bed of sand beneath a new shed.
This heats water for use in the cheese and butter production buildings, as well as the parlour, office building, houses and other buildings on the farm.
Last year saw the installation of heat exchanges on compressors throughout the farm, harnessing heat and using it to cool milk and heat the preheat tank.
The straw burner, installed in October 2020, heats water for parlour cleaning and the cheese and production buildings.
And since entering the competition, further solar panels have been installed, plus the addition of battery power storage so no solar-generated electricity is wasted.
As part of the award, Fen Farm will receive $10,000 (£7,260), which they have said they will be spending on additional sustainable improvements to the business.
Jonny Crickmore, farmer and owner of Fen Farm, said: “We are absolutely honoured to have won, even more so with it being a global award.
"We really didn’t expect our idea of taking heat from cow muck would result in an award, but we’re delighted to be able to share our story with others.
“Over the last ten years, our business has grown considerably, and it felt right to consider more closely how much energy we are using, both from a business and efficiency point of view."
Competition entries varied from simple practical improvements, such as the recycling of 200l litre drums into calf-drinkers, to more complex investments such as electric vehicles, anaerobic digesters and renewable energy.
Other highly commended entries from the UK included Copys Green Farm, Norfolk and Bridgwater and Taunton College.