A Bit Of Beef – The Local Food Cycle & Environmental Responsibility
At Neil Powell Butchers, we are passionate about working with livestock suppliers who we share a mutual understanding and dedication for livestock welfare, the end product and the environment. We created ‘A Bit of Beef’, as an educational piece to showcase the local food cycle and environmental responsibility.
Our commitment is to always source from as locally as possible, from farmers who are passionate about farming and their animals. We have invested in the energy saving infrastructure of our family-run business; on a sunny day all of our energy is produced by solar power and our hot water is generated as a byproduct.
We are committed to environmentally considerate practices and are fully invested in our local food cycle as the best sustainable model for food production.
Agriculture & Carbon
1.Frank Mitloehner, University of California 2. Studies by Tony Lovell from the Soil Carbon Institute of Australia.
Biodiversity & Symbiotic Farming
- Utilising pasture land & ruminant grazing can help reduce erosion and soil loss during periods of heavy rain and flooding. Soil bound together by wild grass and herb roots is less liable to wash away.
- When it’s too wet and cold, cattle are moved into sheds and fed with silage (fermented grass), hay (grass dried by the sun), some barley and rapemeal (grown on the farm).
- These permanent pastures are made up of mixed wild grasses and herbs including burnett, chicory and wild white clover. all of these are nutritious staples of ruminants and also a variety of birds, insects and small mammals.
- The byproduct of cattle grazing is high yielding land that enhances soil structure. Organic matter deposited by cattle increases the efficiency of the soil to hold and filter water.
- From October onwards the natural sugars and protein in the pastures reduce dramatically. The cattle are then housed and fed on silage and hay to ensure a satisfactory diet is available for their health and welfare.
- Wild herbs such as white clover have a positive environmental impact by processing nitrogen in the air and storing it in nodules on the roots. This acts to help reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere by capturing nitrogen in the air and utilising it as fertiliser.
- Another byproduct of ruminant grazing is the earthworm. Earthworms harness organic matter, breaking it down and enhancing soil quality as well as aerating and allowing for nutrients and water to filter easily. Worm castings (the earth filtered and deposited on the surface) make the soil more absorbent, making moisture more consistently available to plants and preventing soil from completely drying out. Worms introduce uncountable numbers of beneficial microbes and bacteria into their castings, making them the largest single contributor to soil health. In addition, castings contain humic acid which aids nutrient absorption in all grasses, wild plants and farmed crops.
Permanent pastures are fields of natural or seeded grassland that remain unplowed for many years.
Throughout the Wye Valley, permanent pastures are an intrinsic and essential part of the ecosystem – without them, local biodiversity is unable to sustain itself.
Old meadows and pastures can support a rich pollinating insect community, including butterflies, grasshoppers, bumblebees and yellow meadow ants. They can also provide important feeding areas for birds such as Linnet and Meadow Pipit, as well as bats and small mammals such as the field vole.
Carbon Sequestration is the natural process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held, long term, in solid or liquid form.
Triggered by grazing cattle, carbon is taken from the air by plants and pumped into the soil, allowing it to be stored by soil microbes that utilise it as energy. Up to 40% of all carbon entering the soil on pasture land is bound and stored in this way.
The environmental benefits of carbon sequestration are that it can help mitigate climate change by preventing carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere
Our Carbon Footprint
Our plant is partly powered by environmentally friendly photovoltaic panels. Solar energy is a good alternative to replace fossil fuels because it is green renewable energy that doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants into the atmosphere.
A byproduct of cooling cold storage rooms is heat the is utilised to heat water that is required for washing the plant for hygiene regulations. On a sunny day, due to the low amperage energy requirement of well-insulated cold rooms and the power produced by the sun, our plant operates with no external energy.