What is Regenerative Farming?

April 29, 2024

At Marshfield Farm, we're all about the ice cream but we were farmers first and it's still the foundation of everything we do.

For over 20 years, we have been Soil Association Certified Organic, however as farming methods evolve and innovate, we've found there are alternative farming techniques that are more closely aligned with our mission to keep our cows as happy as can be, while doing the best thing for the environment.

With Rory Hawking (our third generation farmer) now at the helm, we've started embracing Regenerative Farming techniques and bringing new technology to the farm.

But what is Regenerative Farming?

Regenerative Farming is all about soil health. There are more microorganisms living in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on the planet! Regenerative Farming (also known as Regen) is a term for a group of farming practises that have evolved over time, all aiming at working with the land, focusing on soil health and efficiency and so reducing the environmental impact of farming.

There are some key techniques we have adopted:

  • Reducing Ploughing and Tilling - soil is fantastic at capturing carbon and storing it. Every time a field is ploughed, that carbon is released into the atmosphere which contributes to climate change. Ploughing also disrupts the ecosystem of the soil, disturbing microrganisms and insects which help increase the health and biodiversity of the soil. By reducing ploughing and tilling we can help keep soil healthy and reduce carbon emissions
  • Creative Crop Rotation - we select crops that grow well together, root at different levels and need harvesting at different times, meaning the soil has more cover across the year. This improves soil fertility without the use of chemicals and also improves water retention, meaning less water is needed to keep crops growing
  • Cows the MOOOve - we change the field our cows graze every day. This means the cows get fresh pasture to munch on and sturdier land to keep their feet healthy, and it also gives the ground time to repair. This helps increase biodiversity above and below ground, more nutrient rich grass and reduced carbon & methane emissions

What are the benefits?

  • Healthier soil! Healthier soil means a richer, healthier ecosystem, meaning more plants and animals can thrive
  • We need less land! Regenerative farming uses less land space to grow the same amount of crops, reducing our impact on the environment and reducing the miles our tractors have to drive
  • Reduced carbon! Keeping the carbon captured in the soil stops it being released into the atmosphere
  • Happy cows! More nutrient rich pasture makes sure our cows can graze on the best quality grass possible
  • Tastier ice cream! Happy, healthy cows produce milk with a higher butter fat percentage, which is perfect for making creamy ice cream!

Find out more about the story of our farm and our sustainability here