Grazewell, a major new one-day event, will provide grassland farmers with the opportunity to explore how regenerative farming techniques can exploit the advantages of grassland farming to develop systems that are fit for the future and truly sustainable.

It is taking place on Thursday, Sep 22, 2022 from 9am – 5pm, at the farm of the Devon Farm Business Awards Farmer of the Year, Chris Berry, who with his wife Sarah runs the 400-acre all grass Higher Thorntons Farm at Kenn, near Exeter.

The technical and demonstration event has sustainable grassland farming at its heart and seeks to inform attendees, who will see a range of practical and advanced techniques focussed on more sustainable livestock production.

Chris and Sarah Berry run a flock of 900 ewes alongside 65 suckler cows and their progeny, with all stock finished on the farm from grass and forage mixes. The farm is in a Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship agreement, with the GS4 Option (Herbal Leys) a major feature.  Grazing management is cell-based working with Precision Grazing’s James Daniel, and they are now in the third year of using the system.

Chris Berry comments; “This system has totally changed the dynamics of my business.  With no fertilizer or feed to buy we can keep a much higher percentage of our total output.  We rotate all the stock around the farm during the growing season as well as making baled silage and providing deferred grazing for the winter.  Winter green crops are grown to outwinter the cows.”

About the day

Grazewell has developed 12 action pods focusing on specific areas that contribute to making grassland farming more sustainable.  These include grass mixes, infrastructure requirements, cultivation and drilling techniques, feed selection, genetics, health and most importantly the management and regeneration of soils.

“These are all factors that contribute to whether a farm is sustainable in terms of being profitable, being good for the environment and socially acceptable,” comments event chairman Bill Harper.

“As well as the action pods there will be areas where specific sheep, beef and dairy issues will be discussed by industry experts.  The Stewardship, Natural and Environmental Capital Marquee will host industry experts all prepared to give advice to farmers looking at all aspects of their business.”

The morning session will focus on field demonstrations, including:

  • 9 demonstration plots of different mixed swards, with presentations from plant breeders and seed companies,
  • a 70-acre block of GS4 Herbal Leys set up into a cell grazing platform,
  • a demonstration of the making and using of Bokashi (fermented farmyard manure),
  • the soil and grass marquee will be next to a soil trench where experts will lead discussions on root depths, soil structure and health, soil pH and plants that fix nitrogen.

The afternoon will be spent at the farmstead where there will be a series of presentations.  The highlight of the event will be the main stage presentation by Professor John Gilliland.  His work in Northern Ireland on carbon mapping and the performance of livestock on mixed swards will help farmers see the benefits of using mixed swards. The main stage will also feature presentations from experts in soil, grass species and the fungal contribution to plant growth.

Following this is a session featuring practical farmers who will describe the benefits on their own farms from adopting a more regenerative and sustainable system.

Technical stands will include British Grassland Society, Kingshay, IGER Rothampstead, and Innovation for Agriculture.  Visitors will be able to learn about the latest practical support from a wide selection of trade stands including genetics businesses, feed companies, forage seed providers and veterinary practices.

Visitors will be able to inspect an impressive array of grassland machinery, many being demonstrated in action, including drills and cultivators, slitters and sward lifters and high-tech equipment for hoeing and weed control.

“We are pleased to host the first Grazewell event which we hope will become an annual event in the Southwest,” Chris comments.  “We look forward to welcoming as many farmers are possible you in September for what promised to be an excellent day.”

Every grassland farmer has decisions to make going forward about making their business more sustainable and protecting soils while also faced with changes to support systems.  Grazewell offers farmers the chance to see first-hand how sustainable farming works.  There are many strands involved and we are trying to cover as many as possible with the focus on soils and grass.

“As the day will demonstrate farming methods that are fit for the future it is important we encourage the next generation of farmers which is why we are offering free admission to any member of Young Farmers Clubs and any agricultural students.

“We are grateful to our partners in constructing this event including Southwest Grassland Societies, Kingshay, AHDB, IGER Rothampstead, the National Sheep Association, the National Beef Association and other industry groups and companies.

We are also grateful to Chris and Sarah Berry for hosting the event and opening their doors to give practical insights into sustainable and regenerative farming systems.  Come and see how it is done.  I promise you won’t be disappointed “

Entry is £14 on the gate or £12 pre-booked. Admission is free to members of YFC and agriculture students.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to