Peter ShallcrossNFU Environment Forum member
Peter is a dairy farmer based in Wiltshire, with a passion for wildlife conservation and regenerative farming practices.
Peter's farm has been in the family for 75 years, since Peter’s grandfather purchased the farm in 1948. The farm consists of 700 acres of rented and owned land, 200 acres of which is in arable, growing crops such as maize, barley, wheat, and beans. Peter has 220 crossbred and Norwegian Red Cross dairy cows on his farm.
Although farming has always been Peter's profession, his first love was wildlife conservation. Peter has implemented habitat schemes on his farm and has participated in Higher Level Stewardship and Mid-Tier schemes. Peter has planted hedges along almost all of the farm's boundaries and created lapwing plots, nectar plots, and birdseed mixes to provide different habitats for wildlife. Peter is also interested in Cricket Bat Willow, a special cultivar that is very saleable and will provide a different habitat for wildlife along the River Nadder.
Peter's farm hosts the Kingfisher Award Scheme run by Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), and Peter is the chair of the local Natural History Society. From this, Peter leads walks on his farm and on other farms where members come to share their passion for conservation. Elm trees are also Peter’s passion and hobby, where he has planted these trees on his farm to provide a habitat for the white letter hairstreak butterfly and provide a second income for the farm. Peter has won awards for his conservation efforts, including the Wiltshire Life Award for Conservation Project of the Year for his reintroduction of Elm trees and the Silver Lapwing award. In addition, Peter also sits on the board for Tisbury Nadder Energy, an energy movement in which energy generation is owned not by large industrial companies but by local communities.
In recent years, Peter has embraced regenerative farming practices to be more sustainable. He has stopped ploughing and now has permanent pasture with herbal lays. Peter aims to reduce the use of fertilisers and uses spot spraying instead of boom spraying for weed management. With his passion for conservation and regenerative farming practices, Peter is an excellent example of how farming can coexist with nature, promoting sustainability and biodiversity.