If you spend much time in the British countryside, it’s likely you’ll be familiar with the pungent aroma lingering in the air after a farmer has been out muck-spreading – often ironically referred to as ‘that fresh country air’, it’s the by-product of the natural cow-poo, or slurry, our farmers (among others) use as fertiliser. However, a growing number of our farmers are using more environmentally-friendly spreading techniques and in doing so, helping to reclaim the idea of ‘fresh country air’ and making it altogether sweeter smelling.
Limited-edition room fragrance
To help people smell the benefits of these increasingly used muck-spreading techniques, we’ve created a new limited-edition room fragrance, recreating the sweet yet earthy aroma of our farmers’ country meadows… without the added element of pungent poo! Created in partnership with fragrance experts CPL Aromas, the scent is a refreshing blend of grasses, nettles, tree sap and a gentle sweetness of straw and is available as a reed diffuser to gently bring the new definition of ‘fresh country air’ into homes around the UK.
Environmentally friendly techniques
This comes as more of our dairy farmers are exploring alternative forms of spreading the nutrient-rich slurry across their land. These environmentally friendly techniques reduce the amount of ammonia and other smelly gasses escaping into the air, as is the case with the traditional ‘spreading’ method.
Instead, techniques such as dribble bars or even injecting the slurry directly into the ground with specialist equipment can lead to a reduction in air-born emissions of between 30 and 90 per cent*, which makes a noticeable difference to the smell of the air around the farms. These alternative techniques also have additional environmental benefits as they place the slurry directly onto or into the ground, leading the nutrients within it to be pulled further into the soil, enriching it with nitrogen and also stopping nitrous oxide from being leaked into the atmosphere.
A view from an Arla Farmer and Ben Fogle
One Arla farmer exploring these alternative techniques is Jason Bayley, he says: “Manure handling typically contributes towards a dairy farm’s emissions, so anything we can do to reduce that amount by using alternative ways to spread the nutrient-rich manure across the land, then it feels like an obvious option to explore. I must also say, even though I’m used to the smell of manure after all these years, I do notice it’s fresher around the fields when the slurry has been put directly into the ground!”
We’ve also been joined on this journey by Ben Fogle, the well-known countryside Broadcaster, who visited Jason’s farm to find out more: “While that whiff of cow poo in the air after muck spreading takes me back to day trips out with my family as a kid, I must admit the benefits of these more environmentally-friendly methods do more than make up for the loss in nostalgia. It’s great to know that the agricultural community is always looking at ways to become more sustainable.”
The potential impact such on-farm changes can have on the environment is why we’re helping our farmers monitor and share best practice on their collective journey to carbon net zero. As we share vital information and learnings on this and other sustainability initiatives with all our 2,400 UK farmers, we’re helping to make the fresh country air even fresher for everyone.