SWARM Hub

Resource Management Practices of Farmers in the South West

As part of the SWARM Hub project, Allan Butler and Matt Lobley from the University of Exeter's Centre for Rural Policy Research group have produced a report entitled 'Resource Management, Knowledge and Internet Use on Farms in South West England'.

The main aims of the report are to provide understanding in the following areas:

  • Farmer’s behaviour and attitude regarding the key themes of SWARM (soils, nutrient use, energy efficiency, renewable energy and water)
  • How and where  do farmers source the knowledge that helps them to manage their resources
  • How do farmers use the internet to gather information about managing farm resources

Data collected for the report originates from a survey undertaken by Exeter University that was conducted in early 2012.


To read the report please click here.

How can I benefit from using renewable energy?

  • Reduced energy bills
  • Ensuring the security of your energy supply
  • Sustainability
  • Reduced emissions of C02 and other greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming
  • Potential for additional income through subsidies paid for renewable electricity (Feed in Tariffs) and heat (Renewable Heat Incentive)
  • Read more about renewable energy

What do I need to consider?

  • Consider your energy use, what gets used and where
  • Wherever possible reduce your energy demand through energy efficiency measures before considering installing renewable technologies
  • Identify any opportunities or constraints to renewable energy on your site
  • Check with the local planning authority whether there are any planning issues
  • Seek independent advice
  • Speak to others who have already installed generating equipment
  • Choose technologies based on suitability and fitness for purpose rather than the promise of additional income
  • Get quotes from 3 installers (MCS accreditation is a condition for receiving FITs for installations up to 50kW, and RHI for installations of up to 45kW)

What are they?

  • A government financial incentive scheme to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy projects up to 5MW
  • Since their introduction on the 1st April 2010, there have been a series of reviews and subsequent changes
  • Since 1st April 2012 there has been reduced support for new solar PV installations with Total Installed Capacity (TIC) under 250kW and extensions to existing with an eligibility date on or after the 3rd March 2012. It also introduced requirements for FIT generators using solar PV to meet an energy efficiency requirement
  • Phases 2A and 2B of the comprehensive review of the Feed in Tariff are currently being consulted on.
  • For more information on FITs and to access key documents on the scheme please visit DECCís website

What sectors are supported?

  • The scheme is open to everyone
  • It provides a fixed tariff for every kWh of electricity produced which is guaranteed for 10-25 years
  • Payments are linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) and have been designed to give a 5-8% return on initial investment
  • There are varying tariffs depending on the type and scale of the technology
  • Read more here

What technologies are supported?

  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Hydro
  • Micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) up to 2kW
  • Solar PV
  • Wind

What are the tariffs?

  • The FIT scheme gives three financial benefits
  • A fixed payment for each kWh produced (generation tariff)
  • An additional payment for each unit exported to the grid (export tariff)
  • A reduction in the amount of electricity imported from the grid (avoided costs)
  • For information on the individual payments for different technologies at different levels please click here (correct April 2012).

What is it?

  • A government scheme that provides financial support to producers of renewable heat
  • All installations that were commissioned on or after 15th July 2009 will be able to apply for support providing they meet other eligibility criteria
  • Read more here

What sections are supported?

  • The RHI is being implemented in two stages. Initially only UK based industrial, commercial and public sector organisations will receive the payments
  • Domestic households will be included in the second phase, which is intended to be introduced in October 2012. In the meantime, householders can sign up to the RHI Premium Payment Scheme

What technologies are supported?

  • Biomass boilers
  • Solar Thermal
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • On site biogas combustion
  • Deep geothermal
  • Injection of biomethane into the grid
  • Energy from municipal solid waste

What are the opportunities for growers?

  • Of the technologies and fuels supported by the RHI, biomass in particular represents a significant opportunity for horticultural businesses as they have a year round heat demand pattern that gives good equipment utilisation
  • Although biomass installations are more complex and expensive than traditional oil or gas, they achieve high energy savings and a relatively quick payback

What are the tariffs?

  • The scheme will be administered by Ofgem, and will be delivered in the form of payments on a quarterly basis following submission of the required information
  • To access the table of tariffs please click here
  • For more information on the scheme you can read the scheme document, the frequently asked questions, or if you have specific queries you can email the RHI team at DECC

Why is Carbon accounting important?

  • Land use and agriculture contributes about 7% of the UKís total Greenhouse Gas emissions
  • Carbon accounting enables farmers and land managers to estimate the emissions of carbon dioxide (C02), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20) produced from farm operations and land, as well as estimate the carbon locked up (sequestered) through soil and woodland management
  • For more information about Carbon accounting on your farm, continue to read the Farming Futures factsheet

Moving towards low Carbon Farming

  • One project working with the SWARM Hub to help support farmers to use continuous improvements to reduce C footprints of their farm
  • To find out how to get involved please visit the project page

Clear about Carbon

  • This project aims to develop, test and deliver innovative approaches to the level of Carbon literacy in Cornwall
  • To find out more about this project please click here to go to the projectís website

Carbon footprinting calculators

Carbon footprinting calculators are used to carry out an on-farm carbon assessment. They are a useful way to assess what is happening on your farm and to look for ways to reduce costs and run the farm more efficiently whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

To read brief reviews about 4 farm carbon calculators click here