Kate & Kevin Hoare

2021 Sustainable Farmer of the Year silver winner

Trenance Farm,

Dairy farmers Kevin and Kate Hoare are shining examples of how sound investment and a drive to utilise sustainable production practices can help reduce on-farm costs while cutting a business’ environmental footprint.

Since taking over the tenancy of their 134-acre Cornwall County Council farm in Tideford in 2018, the young couple has introduced a host of sustainability measures that have helped improve their land, farm efficiencies, and their bottom line.

Rearing their 110-head herd of Friesian cattle plus replacement heifers and beef calves on a grass-based system, the couple installed a biomethane slurry lagoon in partnership with Cornwall Council and local company Bennamann in order to reduce emissions.

Captured methane is converted into liquid gas that fuels the farm, while water harvested from the lagoon’s cover will eventually be used to feed a nearby pond that the couple restored to encourage wildlife to reestablish on the farm.

Having entered into a mid-tier stewardship scheme, the couple have fenced the farm, leaving areas untouched so they can rewild, and they have installed their own borehole, water pipes and troughs in every grazing field, helping drive down water costs while maintaining cow comfort.

Positive impact

In addition to working with LEAF’s integrated farm management plan as part of an ELMS trial, the couple have also been accepted by DEFRA to take part in its sustainable farming incentive.

The mid-tier stewardship scheme was the best system to help Kate and Kevin get the most out of the farm, which they describe as being tired when they took it over.

They believe  making so many small, incremental changes has had a huge impact on their bottom line which include reducing the age at first calving, bringing it down to 24 months; having a younger herd, and a better form of digestate to reduce need for fertilizer. All of this combined, has made a significant difference to their business.

The couple believe they have made a positive impact and demonstrated it is irrelevant how big a farm is or how many head of cattle you have – any change is important.

At a glance:

  • 134-acre dairy farm
  • Installed a biomethane slurry lagoon too create power for the farm
  • Encouraging biodiversity through rewilding and restoring habitats