New collaboration puts direct drilling at the heart of Cereals 2024

  • A new partnership at this year’s Cereals Event is set to help farmers incorporate regenerative practices into their management, in an era of increasing environmental and financial pressures

Taking place adjacent to the main Cereals site, the new  demonstration arena will sit alongside an interactive seminar space, wildflower and cover crop plots, and exhibition stands profiling all the latest innovation in the no-till world, with the overall theme of ‘Regenerating Farm Profit’.

Clive Bailye, founder of Direct Driller Magazine, says the idea of the space is based around the format of the much-loved Syngenta Sprays and Sprayers Arena. He  hopes it will be an informative addition to the Cereals programme – particularly for large-scale, traditional farmers who may not know where to start when it comes to regenerative practices. “With Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) becoming very much reality and the practices involved in these schemes becoming more mainstream – and likely to become the norm – the ethos behind this new event is to help plug the gap, in terms of information, as there is no real blueprint,” he says.

“While there are events that focus on regenerative techniques and practices — which are great — they can be a bit intimidating for farmers just starting out, so by hosting it at Cereals, we’re hoping to open it up to a wider audience.

“By laying it out in an arena format, the aim is to showcase that regen is not just about machinery. It’s a part of the jigsaw, but there are also cropping and agronomic decisions to consider, for example. So we hope this format will highlight and bring that all together.”

Looking to the seminar programme, the line-up has been carefully curated by knowledge exchange partner BASE UK. Sessions include advice from farm business consultants and farmers on how large-scale farm enterprises can make money from the SFI as well as insight from ADAS soil scientist Kate Smith on soil assessments and management plans which help improve soils.

“BASE has a heritage in regenerative farming and as we’ve been going for over 10 years,” explains BASE’s Rebecca Goodwin. “We’ve got a wide knowledge base within our members – from which we’ve generated most of the seminar speakers.

“The programme is based around four key topics – machinery, the SFI, cover cropping and nutrition – and the hope is that the conversations will inspire visitors to think about what they’re already doing, what is happening under their feet in the soil, and whether or not they could change this in the future.

“The idea is to have quite short sessions and then open the floor so farmers can get answers to the most important questions for their businesses.”

Separate tickets are required to access the arena and will include a VIP parking area, breakfast and lunch, as well as a chance to meet all the speakers at the networking lunch and reception at the end of each day.

 “Feedback we’ve had from visitors over recent years has all pointed towards the need for more information on how regenerative methods and practices can fit within a traditional set up,” notes Alli McEntyre, Cereals event manager.

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