New collaboration puts direct drilling at the heart of Cereals 2024

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A new partnership with Direct Driller Magazine 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 Direct Driller@Cereals 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. “Therefore, we are so pleased to partner with the team at Direct Driller Magazine to provide a practical, cost-effective approach to what can often be seen as blue-sky thinking.”

DirectDriller@Cereals seminar line up: Confirmed so far…


Session Confirmed speakers so far Agenda
How large-scale farm enterprises can make money from the SFI Edwin Taylor, Northumberland farmer and chairman of BASE UK

Martin Lines, Cambridgeshire farmer

Georgie Bray, RSPB and Cambridgeshire farmer

Elliot Taylor, partner and farm business consultant – George F. White

Emily Pope, managing director, knowledge exchange – Trinity Agtech

Clive Bailye, managing partner – TWB Farms, AgriWebMedia

Ben Adams, farmer

An overview of the actions that can be taken in order to get the most from SFI payments in the coming years, tackling the tasks and challenges in a practical manner to increase overall farm profits.
Machinery goes the distance
  • Edwin Taylor, Northumberland farmer and chairman of BASE UK
  • Gary Willoughby, Lincolnshire farmer and AHDB Monitor farm
  • Mike Metcalfe, managing director – JJ Metcalfe and Son Ltd
  • Joe Fisher, Nottinghamshire farmer and AHDB Monitor Farm
  • Stephen Goodwin, Northamptonshire farmer and vice chairman of BASE UK
Panel discussion looking at machinery developments and how the latest kit can help growers meet the increasing requirement to farm more sustainably.
Lunch and Learn with the speakers
  • Mark Spencer, Minister of State for Food, Farming, and Fisheries – Defra
  • Clive Bailye, managing partner – TWB Farms, AgriWebMedia
  • The day’s speakers
Opened by a welcome address from Minister Spencer, join us for lunch and network, quiz and connect with our expert speakers. Pick a table/ topic that suits you and get all your questions answered.
Profiting from the ground up
  • Edwin Taylor, Northumberland farmer and chairman of BASE UK
  • Toby Simpson, Cambridgeshire farmer and Nuffield Scholar
  • James Bucher, Suffolk farmer
  • Kate Smith, soil scientist – ADAS
  • Stephen Goodwin, Northamptonshire farmer and vice chairman of BASE UK
Detailed advice on soil assessments and soil management plans which improve soils through a variety of methods, including, but not limited to, cover crops, livestock and crops in rotation, direct drilling and herbal leys.
Regenerating farm profits with nutrition management
  • Edwin Taylor, Northumberland farmer and chairman of BASE UK
  • James Warne, agronomist – Soil First Farming
  • Steve Townsend, consultant – Soil First Farming
A seminar session on managing nutrient usage more efficiently and effectively, finding ways to increase efficiency of nutrient usage, and maximising the use of natural sources of crop nutrients.



Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods and their role in SFI payments
  • Phil Jarvis, land and estates Director – Albanwise and Voluntary Initiative Chair
  • David Bell, East Fife farmer/contractor and Voluntary Initiative (VI) champion
  • Ollie Johnson, head of farming systems and agronomy – AHDB
  • John Gadsby, agronomy consultant – ADAS
  • Caroline Nichols, technical content team leader (IPM SFI Actions) – Defra
A review the IPM methods growers have at their disposal, taking into account the effectiveness of control, the economic importance of the pest, and aspects related to practicality of implementation.  From methodology to restrictions, the seminar will cover IPM strategy as it relates to SFI.
Meet the speakers networking reception
  • All
Take this time at the end of the day to network and relax with the Direct Driller@Cereals speakers, attendees and sponsors.


For the most up to date information and speaker line up, visit