Natural Capital Balance Sheet for an organic dairy farm, the Cholderton Estate

sainfainPublic money for public goods” is a phrase popularised by the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, SoS for Defra. But what is public and what is private good? How do we measure the impacts of different economic activities on public goods? 

In this study, we apply natural capital accounting to identify the public goods farming can produce. We use the 1,000-hectare Cholderton Estate as a test case. The Estate is a fully organic farming enterprise. It has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilisers and pesticides and is managed to maximise the diversity of plant, insect and bird species. Estimates for Cholderton are compared to ‘a typical (intensive) farm’ defined as one which also has 1,000 hectares for dairy, but which uses artificial fertilisers, has higher stocking densities and does not invest in soil quality and biodiversity.

We show that financial profits can be made at the expense of public goods. However, continued damage to public goods can reduce productivity and profitability in future. This is why it’s important to develop appropriate policies that can support both food production and the provision of public goods.

The work that eftec has done to evaluate the impacts of our farming practice at Cholderton has been invaluable. It gives me confidence in the sustainability of our approach to preserve both the productivity of the estate and its contribution to the countryside long into the future.” Henry Edmunds FRES, Owner, Cholderton Estate

A summary of the study can be downloaded here.  

For the full account, please contact Duncan Royle – duncan@eftec.co.uk