THE Beef Farmer of the Year Award (sponsored by Allflex) was given to Bill and Suzanne Harper, of Trepoyle Farm, North Tamerton, Devon.

The pair have 125 suckler cows and 350 breeding sheep. Bill and Suzanne also rear 100 calves each year from a local dairy farmer.

Upon receiving the award, Bill said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the night and it was a great advert for South West farming.”

They are committed to building soil fertility, organic matter and structure on their farm, and they hope to sustain good grass growth and produce meat from grass with less fertiliser.

Bill and Suzanne have developed their own set of nine principles of sustainable livestock farming, including introducing more diverse species when reseeding or overseeding, taking a diagnostic approach to animal health, and keeping their cattle out of watercourses to avoid poaching and pollution.

In 2023, the farm used the bokashi fermenting process for farmyard manure. Nutrients are retained in this anaerobic process, no turning of muck is needed, and no harmful emissions are produced.

Bill said: “Chemicals give a flush of growth and then nothing, but with bokashi the grass grows persistently for three months. It could not come at a better time with fertiliser prices as they are. I also like that it shatters quickly so we can graze the land again after 21 days, unlike other manure applications which sit on the ground.

"I’m very keen on it, so we will be doubling the quantity we make this year to 300 tonnes. Everything in the grazing platform will now have one bokashi dressing in July or August. It has become critical to our system.”

To enter the 2024 awards, click here.