Farmers helping other farmers

Carbon Calling conference 2023 – session 4

Resource explained

Footage of Stuart Johnson, 2023 ‘Soil Farmer of the Year’, and dairy farmer and Nuffield Scholar Bruce Thompson speaking at Carbon Calling 2023 about farming regeneratively, reducing inputs, keeping the farm business profitable, and all things dung beetle related!

Stuart Johnson’s family-run farming business in the Tyne Valley, Northumberland, has 540 acres which has been long-term regeneratively farmed. They are now predominantly beef and livestock farmers. 12 years ago, they were very high input, and focused on maximising output, breeding the best and growing the most… Soil health wasn’t considered much. Changes made were largely down to financial reasons with business resilience being key. They are still producing high quantities of produce but have a very different mindset and much more holistic approach. He speaks about why they changed and how change came about.

Bruce Thompson explains his interest in dung beetles was initially driven by looking at anthelmintic resistance on his farm. He talks about parasite management (rather than control), and how he changed his approach, developing a “traffic light grazing system,” mapping risks of grazing the pasture throughout the year, and moving cows regularly. He explains how he decides when and how much to dose, and how he goes about not breeding resistant parasites on the farm.

Please accept statistics, marketing cookies to watch this video.

Findings & recommendations

    • Grazing animals down tight is going to lead to more ingestion of parasites.
    • Doing your own faecal egg counting on the farm will help your decision making and help identify which paddocks are potentially getting contaminated more than others.
    • Dung beetles are “Nature’s recyclers.” They bring many benefits to farmers – they dry dung pats (making them more attractive to earthworms), promote better nutrient recycling and soil aeration, provide a “transport service” for beneficial mites, and numerous benefits to the environment – including providing a food source for bats, birds, foxes, and badgers. To find out more about dung beetles, see this information hub.
    • Stuart Johnson’s “thoughts I never thought I’d have”:
      • Yes, I look at dung beetles now
      • Let’s plant trees in the middle of this field…
      • Can’t wait to get my microscope out
      • The more herbs in this mix the better
      • Barley at 2 t/ha is no longer a disaster
      • Yes, sheep can actually be enjoyable (lambing indoors and feeding them all winter didn’t sit well with him. Now he doesn’t feed them any concentrate and lambs outside, and he finds it much more rewarding and enjoyable).

Summary provided by:

Janie Caldbeck

Edited by:

Janie Caldbeck

Associated Agricology Partner Organisation(s):

Related articles

Carbon Calling – Shared stories and lessons learnt

On Saturday 9th of September we were lucky enough to attend the Carbon Calling conference in Cumbria.

Why do you need to come to the Carbon Calling conference?

Liz Genever explains what you can expect from the Carbon Calling conference, what makes it unique, and what it can offer farmers based in the...

Carbon Calling Conference

A pioneering on-farm conference focusing on soil health is gearing up for its launch on a Cumbrian farm this summer (June 25th-26th). Carbon Calling is...

An interview with Stuart Johnson

With Carbon Calling Conference just around the corner, organiser and regenerative farmer Nic Renison took some time out to catch up with Stuart Johnson.

Paul & Nic Renison

"Our motivations for better grassland management are to be productive without the use of sprays and fertilisers, and to farm in an ecologically ‘right’ way...

Your 5 steps to stop spending on synthetic fertilizers

Real Wealh Ranching's 'condensed steps to gradually wean your land from the high cost of synthetic fertilisers without losing your shirt in the process'.
To top