Derwydd Farm, situated in the countryside of north Wales, is a busy, eco-friendly farm run by Llŷr Jones and his family. Farming sheep, beef and free range hens, Llŷr has one main aim: To have a completely carbon neutral farm. By running a carbon neutral farm, he is hoping that he can lead by example and promote awareness of the carbon emissions associated with farming, and therefore encourage and inspire others to become more sustainable.
Farming creates roughly 10% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions; however across the UK, farms also provide enough renewable energy for around ten million homes each year. Llŷr is creating renewable energy sources through hydro and solar power. But, remaining carbon neutral can be tricky for farmers, especially seeing as they need heavy-duty and powerful equipment to get the job done. At Derwydd Farm, Llŷr uses the Polaris Ranger EV as a more eco-friendly alternative to a typical utility terrain vehicle.
Last month, Llŷr purchased a Ranger EV after previously having a Kawasaki Mule, to fit with the work they are trying to do of becoming fully carbon neutral:
“The Polaris is an absolute no-brainer, with it being electric, we can use our own electricity to charge it meaning it is not costing us anything to run and better yet it is much better for the environment with no emissions being produced.”
The Polaris is used all the time around the farm by Llŷr and his shepherdess Vicky.
“It gets used about 50/50 between myself and Vicky, Vicky will use it to bring the sheep in but I use it to feed the calves, running up to the chicken shed, really anything that needs doing - it’s super quick. It’s great because the dogs can jump in the back and as we only charge it at night, it lasts all day!”
Now that Llŷr has reduced his carbon emissions significantly with the introduction of the Ranger EV, he is looking at reducing the amount of methane emissions produced from his cattle.
“Although methane only lasts for 10 years, whereas carbon lasts for thousands, we’re in talks with a company now that offers feed with citric extractor in which lowers the bacteria in the stomach and as a result reduces the amount of methane from the cattle by 30%.”
Another way in which Derwydd Farm has made a huge difference is through their free range egg-laying hens. To ensure that his 16,000 hens are laying to their full potential, Llŷr has a heated hen unit powered by harnessing water that has been heated by the soil to warm the henhouse to 18℃. The eggs that are collected are then sent to supermarkets.
“By keeping the hens warm all year round, they can put more energy into laying eggs rather than using their energy to keep themselves warm. By keeping them warm it means that the hens eat three grams less which results in a saving of £15,000 per year on feed and a quarter of a million more eggs are produced.”
They also recognise that ploughing crops releases carbon emissions into the atmosphere when the top layer of soil is disturbed, so whilst Derwydd Farm grows rapeseed to make and sell rapeseed oil, they turn the byproduct into pellets that can be used as feed for the livestock – meaning minimal wastage and putting carbon back into the soil.
The future looks bright for the busy eco-friendly farm with their efforts making a huge difference and also setting an example for other UK farmers by showing that they can run a self-sufficient farm by providing their own electricity.
“It’s rather amazing that we have almost gone full-circle with the way that we are self-sufficient; it’s like how farmers used to work before, a hundred years ago or so. It’s just funny to think that it has gone full circle but with a modern twist of creating our own electricity through renewable power sources.”
The Polaris Ranger EV pairs the off-road capabilities of the world’s bestselling UTV, with the gentle operation of an electric vehicle, providing a clean ride with no exhaust fumes, as well as keeping disturbance to a minimum thanks to its whisper-quiet engine noise. Charging from a standard domestic plug and propelled by a single 48-volt, high-efficiency AC-induction motor, the Ranger EV needs little maintenance due to its direct drive system with low-noise transmission and offers a usable and practical driving range in even the most demanding work environments. What’s more, the EV boasts an impressive 454kg payload capacity in addition to a 680kg towing capacity and 25.4cm of ground clearance, making it the smoothest, most capable battery electric side-by-side in its class.
For more information on the Ranger EV, please visit the Polaris Britain website.