Pilot Study on Stud Farm Environmental Impact Launched

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Mares and foals graze in a paddock | Emma Berry

A pilot study to focus on the environmental impact of stud farms was launched by the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association (TBA) and the Racing Foundation on Thursday, Apr. 22, Earth Day.

The purpose of the study, started by the TBA's Environmental Sustainability Working Group and funded by the Racing Foundation, will assess the impact of two stud farms in different regional locations. The Environmental Sustainability Work Group, founded in November of 2020 after the passing of the Agriculture Bill by the UK Government, aims to collaborate with industry professionals on grassland management practices that enhance air and water quality, improve soil health, mitigate flood risk and increase biodiversity, while also reducing the carbon footprint of stud farms. After the study is finished, the project's results and recommendations will be utilised by the Environmental Sustainability Work Group to encourage environmentally sustainable practices and provide guidance to those managing pasture for equines who wish to access government funding via the Environmental Land Management Scheme in the UK.

Julian Richmond-Watson, Chairman of the TBA said, “This study reinforces the TBA's commitment to improve the industry's long-term sustainability and develop positive environmental changes on stud farms. As a low input sector with active carbon sequestration in paddocks, it is very likely that stud managers will have solid foundations on which to introduce new protocols and technologies. Also, where farms are densely located it may also be possible to achieve biodiversity gains with bordering properties to bring about more significant changes across a landscape. The new Environmental Land Management Scheme presents opportunities to improve local ecosystems and habitats on stud farms whilst also rewarding good practice with financial assistance.

“We are extremely thankful to the Racing Foundation for their support with this project and look forward to sharing updates with breeders as we progress to enable them to make informed decisions on how they can best improve their landscapes.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation added, “At the Racing Foundation, our mission is to be a catalyst for improvement in the horseracing industry through our grant giving activity.

“The Racing Foundation made a commitment in its 2021-2023 strategy to seek opportunities to support environmental sustainability alongside people, equine welfare and community engagement.

“We are therefore pleased to grant £20,000 to the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association to assess the environmental impact of stud farms and further the industry's understanding of issues fundamental to the long-term prosperity of racing.”

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