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Farm of the Future Regen Livestock Event - Plumpton College - 30th May 2024

Date Published: 30/05/2024

Over 80 people joined us for our Farm of the Future event at Plumpton College on the 30th May 2024.

David Exwood kicked off a morning of inspirational sessions highlighting how livestock farmers can be part of the solution to climate change.

This was followed by a panel session hearing from a brilliant team of farmers; Sophie Gregory chairing with speakers, Zoe Colville, Matt Ford, Hugh Richards and Ben Harman.

Main points of discussion included making ’regen’ ag work for their farming businesses, whether that be rotational grazing, herbal leys, focusing on genetics/breeding and the all-round positive impact farming in this way has had on their mental wellbeing as well as productivity.

Sarah Tomlinson followed with an overview of the importance of animal health in terms of minimising environmental impact, followed by a sustainable waste management session with David Kinnersley MBA FIAgrM FRASE.

This linked in nicely with the next talk from James Rundell who explained the work of Qube - specialists in gas capture from slurry lagoons.

Annie Williams concluded with a balanced view on the opportunities for emission reduction from feed additives.

Then Jeremy Kerswell – principal at Plumpton college, gave a quick overview of what they are doing on the farm & campus as a whole to be as sustainable as possible.

Following an impressive lunch spread and a good chat between farmers, and the information stands of various companies in the foyer, the afternoon sessions split into a farm tour around the dairy and cattle units. There was also the opportunity to look at 'kit' including the New Holland Agriculture T6 Methane Tractor, Claydon drill, CASE IH AFS connect and a Horizon direct drill.

Deborah Crossan from IfA’s soils team also provided a demonstration on how to do various visual soil assessments showing the indicators for soil health & management practices.

It was great to hear from so many passionate speakers about how they make regenerative agriculture work for them on their farms, and how we can utilise the current policies to make it work for us. This included what technology is currently available to help us on this journey, as well as what is potentially to come for our sector in the near future.

There was a real buzz of positivity in the room from other fellow farmers, coming through in the array of questions being asked, as well as from the varied conversations and positive feedback we received.

Finally, we would like to thank the team at Innovation for Agriculture for delivering such a fantastic event on our behalf.

Feedback –

  • local sheep farmer – ‘I found the event to be very informative, interesting and a cause for reflection.  I definitely think there is a gap to be filled between consumer and farmer and look forward to hearing more as to how this will is planned. 

The event made me reflect on our grazing and how I can improve rotation grazing for our sheep (we need to set up some electric fencing to make other grazing areas more accessible and rest some of the field the sheep are on).  The livestock health issues talk also made me reflect on what we do for best practice – eg registering for various animal health schemes.’

  • Sussex beef / sheep farmer – ‘ I thought the event was very interesting and hearing from real life farmers about how these practices work for them, really made me think about how we currently graze our livestock, I am going to go away and look into investing in electric fencing to enable us to rotationally graze better, also what grants maybe able to help us with this! The animal health update also made me think about the things we could do on farm to hopefully prevent an outbreak, or at least reduce the damage. Although beyond our scope at the moment hearing about the slurry covers, AD plants and feed additives was really interesting to hear the technology now available to farmers.

Great Lunch!! Then the farm tour was interesting to see how keen the cows seemed to be milked by the robots! The soils demonstration again really made me think about our soils and how we could improve/ monitor them, it was interesting to see the direct drills and methane tractor but again outside our scope currently! And it was good to be able to chat to AHDB & pasture for life about how we able to work with them in the future. Ad I am always keen to support FCN so it was great to have them there too,

Overall, I thought it was a very interesting event with lots of take homes but would have liked more time for questions but I did get to speak to the speakers afterwards!’

Don't forget  to keep an eye on the RASE events page for more events coming up soon www.rase.org.uk/events