Messrs George McLaren has taken measures to help the natural biodiversity of the wildlife on our farm. A few examples of environmentally friendly techniques and measures taken to support biodiversity and the environment are listed below:
Messrs George McLaren invested in the most energy efficient technology available. Heat Exchangers have been installed that reduce the energy required to heat the sheds. They work by using the heat from within the shed to preheat the air brought in to ventilate the shed.
Industry standard is to burn propane gas as the fuel to heat the sheds, however biomass boilers have been installed that use sustainably sourced wood from the UK which is a renewable energy source.
We grow strawberries in substrate bags and the industry standard has been to use peat as the substrate. However we have recently moved to using Coir (coconut waste) as this is more sustainable versus using up a finite peat source.
We also use beneficial insects and bio-pesticides to try to control pest and diseases to reduce the amount of pesticides used. Instead of spraying pesticides on a pest that is attacking our crop, we release naturally occurring insect predators that do the job for us! (e.g. ladybirds eat greenfly that feed on plants) For more information please look at Angus Soft Fruit’s Good Natured website.
Growing blackcurrants for Ribena led us to carrying out a wildlife survey on the farm. We identified key species on the farm, such as Sand Martins, that we want to help and have put a plan in place. It also led us to planting more trees surrounding blackcurrant fields, installing bird nesting boxes, leaving grass margins uncut and managing hedge trimming to benefit wildlife.
Through growing potatoes we learned about Operation Bumblebee. This is where a wild flower mix is sown to provide a habitat and support natural and wild bumblebees. In 2012 and 2013 we went on to help and support further research being carried out by Stirling University into wild flower mix and pollinators.
We have made a 3 metre grass margin next to watercourses on our farm. This margin not only helps wildlife by providing a habitat, but also helps to create a barrier to stop pesticide and fertilisers ending up in a watercourse, as this has a negative effect on aquatic wildlife.
Most of the straw is chopped and incorporated into the soil to benefit soil structure and fertility.
We re-cycle waste plastic and waste oil. We also source raw materials from sustainable sources where applicable.