Groundswell visitors encouraged to ‘do grass’

Valuable agronomic, economic and environmental benefits come to farmers who incorporate grass into their farming systems, says Barenbrug UK, announcing its continued sponsorship of the Groundswell regenerative agriculture show.


Held at Lannock Manor Farm, Hertfordshire, on June 22-23, Barenbrug reprises its spot as the Grass and Herbal Ley sponsor, offering demonstration plots, technical advice, and – one of the highlights of Groundswell – two speaker sessions, in a bid to underline its belief that grass will become the most important crop of the twenty-first century.


“Grass is no longer just grazing for sheep and cattle,” explains David Linton, Barenbrug’s commercial manager for agriculture.


“Increasingly, research from around the world – including our own – is adequately demonstrating the power of grass and mixed leys to deliver benefits beyond producing milk and sustaining good-quality, healthy meat.


“Every farm should be doing grass,” he stresses.


“We know how grass mixtures can boost soil nitrogen levels, reducing our reliance on expensive artificial fertilisers. Growers following a grass ley with cereals have reported yield uplift of more than 5%, despite slashing nitrogen inputs by nearly a quarter.


“We also know that they’re vital in addressing climate change. Their ability to capture carbon gives the farming industry a second crucial role in society: we’re not just producing food but helping to solve the world’s most pressing problem,” David explains.


On arable farms, grass-rich buffer strips can provide vital protection against loss of soil and nutrients during soil-disturbing activities such as root-crop harvesting, while increasing the farm’s overall value for biodiversity.


“All these facts are borne out by the UK’s growing demand for grass seed,” David points out, “with more than 9,000ha now under seed production.”


That topic will be discussed in detail on the first day of the show, in a panel session titled, “Grass: can it be sustainable AND make money?”, featuring grassland experts, consultants, and third-generation seed grower David Barker.


A similar speaker session on Thursday, “Grassland: Back to Basics”, will promise something for everyone as a panel of farmers and grassland specialists cover everything from reseeding to management and best practice.


“As previous Groundswell attendees will know, these speaker sessions are an incredibly popular element of the show, and we’re delighted to be sharing our thoughts and approach, and taking questions, on these topics at this year’s event,” enthuses David.


David and his Barenbrug colleagues will be available on both days to discuss grass and ley options with growers, provide plot tours, answer queries and offer practical advice about finding a place for grass on any farm. Barenbrug is one of the ‘stops’ in Groundswell’s BASIS Knowledge Trail, and visitors to the stand will also be able to pick up a free copy of the ‘Good Grassland Guide’.


One of the largest UK breeders and producers of grass seed, Barenbrug has a network of growers, and researchers across the country. Producing and distributing more than 4,500 tonnes of grass seed each year, 90% of which is grown in the UK, a trials and research site in Worcestershire provides the base for much of the company’s development work.


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