Environmental Crop Management

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Environmental Crop Management's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Environmental Crop Management is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director Peter Clare
and Igor Teslenko Corteva
European business leader
Untreated wheat and
fungicide treated wheat
Established in 1991, Environmental Crop Management works
with 1,200 farmers throughout northwest England. Voted
one of the best crop protection companies in the world, it
has been recognised for promoting sustainable, environmentally
friendly farming techniques while producing high-yielding,
quality crops. Its agronomists recommend products only after
a full crop inspection, and a decision to spray is made after
alternative control measures are explored fully. It functions to
manage crop health with minimal environmental disturbance
while delivering high yields. Managing Director Peter Clare
explains how the company has demonstrated that profitability,
respect for biodiversity and best environmental practice are
complementary rather than incompatible with each other.
Farmers produce our food and provide one of the very foundations of our society.
Five years on from our last article in
The Parliamentary Review
, much has improved
in UK agriculture. Most people are unaware of the weeds, pests and diseases that
threaten our food supply in the UK and few understand the highly skilled and
regulated farming industries that combine to bring food to their plate. Farming’s
successful delivery of cheap, safe food has created a comfort within modern
society, but only seven days’ food supply is in stock in this country at any one time
so we cannot be complacent.
As the Chinese proverb says: “A person who has food has many problems, a
person who has no food has only one problem.” Sadly, in the time it takes to read
»Managing Director: Peter Clare
»Founded in 1991
»Based in Warrington
»Services: Agronomy,
offering the highest level of
environmental protection
»No. of employees: 10
»Winners of the Corteva
Environmental Ambassador
Award in 2018
»Voted best crop protection
company in the world
Environmental Crop
Highlighting best practice
this article 100 people will have died
of starvation. Most likely, their loss will
be a tragedy for a family we will never
know in the developing world. Closer
to home, food poverty is becoming
more prevalent, with over 500,000
people reliant on food banks, while
more than two million people in the
UK are estimated to be malnourished,
with many more at risk. Providing an
expanding population with enough to
eat is a huge challenge that we must
meet while respecting biodiversity and
taking into account climate change as
matters of the utmost importance.
How we can help
The Integrated Crop Management
System adopts a whole-farm, long-
term strategy rather than providing a
quick fix that can be applied to one
field for one season, striking a much
better balance between business
imperatives and best environmental
practice. We have developed an
approach to ICM, in response to
the many issues currently facing
UK agriculture, which has been
successfully adopted by our farmer-
clients. Our practice safeguards the
environment and the quality, quantity
and price of produce; the profitability
of the farm and the adoption of new
techniques are essential to preserving
the overall stability of agriculture.
Issues such as crop protection, wildlife
and landscape management, directed
use of fertilisers, waste avoidance,
enhanced energy efficiency and
minimised pollution exemplify ICM.
We have piloted and developed many
successful schemes, for example
selectively controlling pernicious
weeds in hedgerows while leaving
the native flora intact and helping
re-establish the barn owl in Cheshire.
We received a lifetime award from
the mid-Cheshire barn owl group for
the latter. Moreover, we continue to
protect beneficial insects in crops while
removing pests that would destroy
them by ensuring that field margins
are protected.
We undertake many collaborative
research projects and partnerships to
investigate how best to produce food
safely with minimum environmental
impact and try to share our industry-
leading applied research and
practices with our buyers’ group. We
collaborate with a research group at
the Centre for Global Eco-innovation
at Lancaster University, investigating
how to increase crop yields and
reduce greenhouse gases. Our work
at Manchester Metropolitan University
continues to look at how stress can
be minimised to improve yields and
maximise the efficiency of fertilisers.
In the past five years we have won
another five Green Apple World
Ambassador awards for pioneering
work on hedgehog conservation, bee
protection, techniques to encourage
plants to defend themselves against
disease and for our education
and training of farmers, university
students and fellow agronomists in
farming approaches that protect the
Help the Hedgehog –
an ECM conservation
produce our
food and
provide one of
the very
foundations of
our society
Addressing challenges
Research and development by our
multinational supplier partners has
led to improvements in sprayer
technology, newer, greener pesticides
and alternative methods of protecting
our crops. Advances in seed varieties
are leading to improved yields and
better use of resources such as
water and fertiliser. However, some
crop protection products are being
withdrawn from use by legislators
without an assessment of the negative
impacts on potential crop losses. For
example, weed and pest control in
carrots is almost impossible following
the withdrawal of a licence for several
key agrochemicals. There is a serious
risk that the gap between withdrawing
older products and the introduction of
newer, more environmentally benign,
alternatives will lead to severe crop
losses and food shortages.
Delays in introducing new products
have a negative impact on productivity
and should be addressed as a matter
of urgency to help protect crops
more efficiently, with minimal effect
on the environment. Uncontrollable
disease epidemics could lead to food
shortages and more food poverty.
Decisions regarding the continued use
of existing products need to assess
the scientific evidence and review
the impacts on productivity as well
as the environment, and identify the
future agronomy options rather than
be driven by political expediency. Our
regulatory system needs to move back
to a risk-based system, as the current
hazard-based system is leading to the
loss of key crop protection products
essential to the ability of UK farms to
produce the food we need.
The future of the UK as an
independent, self-determining
country presents an opportunity to
review our approach to agriculture.
UK farming, in spite of the increased
pressures of reduced land to farm
and reduced tools to farm with, will
meet the pressures of sustaining food
production, and develop farm systems
that put the environment at the heart
of farming, and UK agriculture should
be recognised for the delivery not
just of food but also of good practice
such as soil management for optimal
fertility, reduction in emissions,
conservation of wildlife and an ability
to adapt and innovate.
We undertake
projects and
to investigate
how best to
produce food
ECM continues to
provide safe food from
crops grown with
maximum environmental


This article was sponsored by Environmental Crop Management. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster