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Farm24 Special: Embracing Regenerative Farming Excellence with Ed Riley

At Buitelaar, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Farmers Guardian #Farm24 campaign, agriculture’s biggest online event, providing the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight and celebrate the daily lives of our farmers and the incredible work they do in our industry. And what better way to join the celebration than by offering a glimpse into one of our most esteemed farmers, Ed Riley, who has been working with us for over 12 years?

The Journey Towards Regeneration

Based in the rolling Shropshire Hills, the Riley family stand tall as fifth-generation mixed farmers, finishing regeneratively farmed heritage cattle.

For Ed and his family, the journey towards working hand in hand with nature began five years ago when they introduced regenerative techniques on their 1,100-acre beef and arable farm. Since then, their impressive herd of traditional English Longhorn cattle has become integral to their farming enterprise, complementing the circular, biological systems that nurture their soils.

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Cattle as Catalysts for Thriving Soil Health

Through rotationally grazing diverse legumes and a herb-rich multi-species sward, the Riley’s have not only nurtured their cattle with a nutritious diet, but have also reaped a myriad of rewards from their partnership with nature. These include improved soil fertility, enhanced water retention, and an increrasingly nutritiously dense and delicious end product.

Additionally, the protein-rich legumes, energy-packed grasses and increased dry matter have not only enriched the land, but also contributed to the improved daily live weight gains in the cattle.

“These regenerative changes have inspired a considerable shift in my approach to farming. As a result, my decisions now firmly revolve around the ecology, environment, and biodiversity of the farm. I think they are vital in securing a thriving future for our family and the farm.” - Ed Riley

How can others benefit from integrating cattle?

The benefits of integrating cattle into arable rotations can be vast and transformative and include those such as:

1. Natural Nutrient Cycling: Cattle grazing naturally distributes nutrients across the land, enriching the soil with natural fertilization.

2. Enhanced Soil Structure: The gentle trampling of cattle hooves fosters a diverse soil structure, promoting water infiltration, root growth, and overall soil aeration, leading to healthier plant growth.

3. Increased Organic Matter: Cattle contribute to the organic matter content in the soil through their manure and natural decomposition of plant material which helps to improves soil fertility, enhances nutrient availability, and aids in moisture retention.

4. Nutrient Cycling and Carbon Sequestration: Regenerative grazing practices, such as those seen on Ed’s farm, allow pastures to rest and regenerate. This cycle promotes carbon sequestration, drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil, not only contributing to climate change mitigation, but also give opportunities for natural capital gains.

Nutritiously Dense and Delicious: Nature's Culinary Treasure

Through enriching their cattle's diet with legumes and herb-rich swards, the Riley family have created a holistic ecosystem where plants and animals thrive together. This not only leads to more nutritious and delicious end products, but also opens the gates to a world of culinary excellence. Ed Riley's regeneratively farmed heritage cattle have earned their rightful place in some of the most prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants in London.

“For us, our commitment to meet the needs of our consumers was a huge factor which propelled us to embrace the regenerative path we’re on and ensures a thriving market for our produce.” – Ed Riley

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A Sustainable Future for Generations to Come

Through embracing regenerative practices, Ed Riley has witnessed a cascade of positive impacts on his farm. Improved soil health has led to increased yields, reducing the need for chemical applications helping to both reduce cost and increase margins.

Hear from Ed Riley:

“We’re always learning, and we don’t always get it right, but for us the implementation of grazing our cattle on herbal leys has proven to be a financial and environment success.”

Join Us on the Journey

At Buitelaar, we understand that Farm24 is not just a day; it's a lifestyle that farmers embrace every single day of the year. We are immensely proud to work alongside farmers like Ed Riley, promoting best practice for the benefit of future generations.

On behalf of the Buitelaar team, we extend a heartfelt thank you to all dedicated farmers who work tirelessly to enrich the land, provide nourishing food, and ensure a greener and more sustainable tomorrow for us all.

Chat to our team about our Regen opportunities