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Natural Capital update: Farm scheme creates a buzz while generating green revenue

Hilton of Beath Farm is a 420-hectare, family run, suckler beef unit located to the east of Kelty in West Fife. The current farming system is based around a herd of 250 suckler cows alongside an in-hand arable enterprise.  

The business decided to implement an AECS (Agri Environment Climate Scheme) at the beginning of 2019 with the objective of creating an alternative income stream that would enhance the environmental resources across the holding.

This scheme implemented a range of habitat creation measures such as grass strips, hedgerows and pond creation. An additional measure was the implementation of the option ‘stubbles followed by green manure’ which is essentially retaining a stubble over the winter, with the establishment of a green cover crop the following spring.

This option has helped improve the organic matter content of the soil as well as adding an additional habitat across the holding.  

After year one of the scheme the business was approached by a group of beekeepers looking to establish colonies in the surrounding area. The habitats created by the business, principally through the green manure option, could provide rich ecosystems for the pollinators whilst actually reinforcing the quality of the green manure plants.  

There had been initial concerns the AECS scheme would potentially constrict the profitability of the farming business; it emerged the holding could actually generate another supplementary income stream by investing in its own natural capital – honey plus money!

The farm’s owners are working with the beekeepers to implement the plan and location for the hives. 

We’ll update you when we hear more. 

Natural Capital: Galbraith’s expert advisers guide our clients in realising value in all land uses – by assessing and measuring natural assets, furthering opportunities in biodiversity net gain, and ensuring stakeholders are rewarded fully for their investment in and contribution to delivering ecosystem services and net-zero outcomes.