© Darrington Parish Council 2017
Clerk: Cllr Kelvin Wilkins.
Chair: Cllr Michael Britton
A report from Church Farm
Darrington Parish Council Update.
Pig Farming at Church Farm
At R. Wilson & Son, Church Farm, the potato harvest is in full swing. Our potatoes go to McCain, who are renowned for their oven chips. The varieties we grow are used for the famous 'Mac fry' for McDonalds restaurants in the UK and are produced by McCain factories. The next time you order a Big Mac and fries you may be consuming potatoes that have been grown in fields around Darrington!
Our cereal harvest finished on the 7th September with grain yields lower than last year but most wheat and barley was harvested dry due to the kind weather over the summer. Sowing of next years cereal crops is now well under way and the brown cultivated fields of late summer are slowly turning green with emerging wheat, barley and oil seed rape crops.
Pigs have been part of farming life at Darrington since the 1950's. Back then our pigs were housed just behind what is now the village shop. They could also be found living in the Tithe barn, on Philips Lane next to Church, and were even roaming the fields which later became the site for Darrington Primary School! In those days the UK could boast being nearly 90% self sufficient in pork. Today, however, our country is only 50% self sufficient meaning a lot of the pork we consume is imported from around the world. The pork produced at our farm in Darrington ends up in some of the main supermarkets as well as some local butchers. Prices to the farmer are at last rising after being below the cost of production for the last 12 months.
Our pigs have sometimes been a hot topic locally because although pigs are known for being very clean and intelligent animals their manure can be a bit smelly. The recent Parish Council Odour log has helped us identify some of the processes that create the most noticeable odour issues. As a result of this we have been able to alter some of our management routines to help minimise our impact. We are continually working with the Environment Agency local officer to ensure we are doing everything we can in this area.
Over the past two years we have invested heavily in manure management and storage and have also built a 500 KW Anaerobic Digester. The digester uses 70% of the manure and slurry we produce to generate electricity. The plant is a few miles away and uses pig manure, maize and rye to produce methane gas which then runs a generator putting electricity back into the grid. This renewable power means our pig poo is now powering nearly 1000 homes! It also means less manure spreading on the fields around Darrington.
Around the village the farm has had a busy year helping with the Church Orchard project, Darrington School’s new reflective garden, the basketball area at the park and of course the Feast & Fayre and bonfire. We continue to help the village where we can as a thank you for your continued support.
Always look for the Red Tractor when food shopping and remember to put British pork on your fork!!
Peter Batty -
11th Oct 2016