Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine Volume 425 - January 2016 - Page 67

AGRICULTURE “With such high costs in energy, we've seen a dedication to observing better efficiency and the implementation of modern technologies just the same as even the most vibrant city centres” reduce the amount of fertilisers and pesticides used and therefore further minimise risk to proximal animals, plant-life and water sources. The Conservation Grade has supported the adoption of eco-friendly farming solutions, offering a crop certification scheme by which growers and manufacturers can demonstrate compliance to production standards. Requirements include: taking 10% of their land out of food production to develop a specific range of habitats for wildlife; creating an environment plan that covers the entire farm; pass- ing an annual, independent, scientific audit; and participating in annual training programmes. In return for adhering to the above requirements and creating and managing wildlife habitats on their least productive land farmers receive a price premium for their crops. Twelve percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the agricultural sector in view of the complex mechanics and sheer amount of machinery needed to harvest successfully. With such high costs in energy, we've seen a dedication to observing better efficiency and the implementation of modern technologies just the same as even the most vibrant city centres. There is also an increased used of renewable power sources on site; anaerobic digestion, in particular is now practised in a great number of farms across the UK in order to covert methane by-products into electrical or heat energy. While cuts to renewable subsidies may rock the sector, the progressive nature of the agricultural industry is likely to afford it stability and success in the years ahead. Continually reinventing itself and placing the environmental agenda at the forefront of development, the industry as a whole is well-suited to the contemporary moment and has a vitality that plays witness to the strength of the UK's manufacturing and engineering sector. MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING MAGAZINE 65