Embarking on a New Journey in Agriculture: The Power of Foliar Feeds


Recently, I had the opportunity of attending the Groundswell 2024 regenerative farming event. It was not just an event, but an enlightening experience that stimulated my thoughts and broadened my perspective on modern farming practices.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly hearing John Kempf, a renowned figure in the field, speak. Although I was not familiar with his work, his insights allowed me to connect various dots from my own experiences, forming a more comprehensive picture of the agricultural landscape.

One particular slide during his presentation caught my attention. It read, “Foliar applied plant nutrition is 7x more effective than soil applied”. This statement resonated with me as I remembered that most of the world record cereal crops were achieved using foliar feeds. The implications are profound – imagine the potential cost savings and positive environmental impact if we could reduce our reliance on soil applications by 85%!

Since the event, I have delved deeper into the subject:

“The first priority of a successful foliar application is to increase photosynthetic efficiency. A foliar application that only addresses nutrient deficiencies and does not increase photosynthesis will not be nearly as effective as a foliar which does both. In fact, a foliar which does not increase photosynthesis can facilitate more efficient extraction of soil nutrients and increase soil degradation. Foliar design matters.”

What truly sparked my interest in regenerative agriculture was the realization that when we grow crops that are resistant to diseases, they also improve the health of the people and the livestock who consume these plants as food.

“This has been one of our foundational realizations: the majority of disease and insect problems are not caused by nutrient deficiencies but by the excesses of products farmers apply.”

Much of what John Kempf advocates is contrary to what we have been taught over the last 60 years. However, my observations confirm that he is on the right track. This has led me to embark on an exciting new journey, envisioning a future where crops are grown without excess fertiliser, minimal pesticides, and with increasing nutrient density.

I have seen people in my neighbourhood adopting his methods, and the results are promising. The crops and animals are healthier, and the farmers are happier.

If you are interested in discussing this further, please feel free to get in touch. This is just the beginning of a new journey in agriculture, and I am thrilled to see where it leads us. Let’s explore this path together, for a healthier and more sustainable future. Together, we can revolutionize the way we farm and consume, creating a better world for all.


Methane and the Carbon Cycle: A Pasture for Life Perspective


Methane (CH₄) is a potent greenhouse gas, and its impact on climate change is a growing concern. However, the Pasture for Life research team has highlighted a crucial aspect of this issue: while ruminants, such as cows and sheep, do emit methane as part of their digestive process, there is a natural solution to this problem—restoring balance in the carbon cycle.

The carbon cycle is a complex system where carbon is exchanged between the atmosphere, land, and oceans. Plants play a vital role in this cycle by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO₂) during photosynthesis and releasing oxygen. When ruminants consume these plants, they convert some of the carbon into methane, which is then released into the atmosphere. However, this methane does not remain in the atmosphere indefinitely. It is eventually broken down into CO₂ and water vapor, which plants can once again use, thus completing the cycle.

The Pasture for Life approach emphasizes that by enhancing biodiversity and maintaining appropriate livestock stocking rates and densities, farms can effectively manage methane emissions. This is achieved by ensuring that the amount of carbon sequestered from the atmosphere through plant growth is equal to or greater than the methane produced by the livestock. In essence, such farms can act as carbon sinks, absorbing more carbon than they emit.

Many Pasture for Life farms are likely already functioning as carbon sinks, but the challenge lies in quantifying this. Measuring methane production at pasture is complex, as it involves numerous variables and requires sophisticated equipment. Current research methods include the use of static chambers, portable accumulation chambers, and the eddy covariance technique, each with its own set of advantages and limitations.

To truly understand and mitigate the impact of methane from ruminants, further research is essential. This research must focus on developing accurate, practical, and cost-effective methods for measuring methane emissions at pasture. Only then can we fully appreciate the role that sustainable farming practices play in combating climate change and ensuring the health of our planet.

The Pasture for Life initiative sheds light on an optimistic perspective: with the right management practices, livestock farming can contribute positively to the environment by restoring the natural carbon cycle. It’s a reminder that solutions to our environmental challenges can often be found in harmonizing with nature’s own processes. The path forward is clear—more research, better measurement techniques, and a commitment to sustainable farming practices are key to making a positive impact.


Innovative AI Applications Reshaping Farming


Recent advancements in AI are ushering in a new era for agriculture with innovative applications poised to transform the industry. These AI-driven approaches are not just enhancing current practices but are also paving the way for more resilient and sustainable farming methods for the future.

AI is not just a tool but a transformative force in farming. It holds the key to a more efficient, productive, and sustainable agricultural sector, ready to meet the challenges of the future. As we stand at the cusp of this AI-driven era, embracing AI in farming is not just an option but a necessity for the survival and prosperity of the global population.

The agricultural sector stands on the brink of a technological revolution, with artificial intelligence (AI) poised to redefine the very essence of farming. As the global population surges towards an estimated 9.7 billion by 2050, the demand for food will inevitably rise. AI emerges as a beacon of hope, promising to enhance food security by optimizing resource use and boosting productivity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a cornerstone of modern agriculture, offering innovative solutions that promise to reshape the industry. As the global population continues to grow, the demand for food security becomes more pressing. AI stands at the forefront of this challenge, providing tools and technologies that optimize resource use, enhance crop yields, and ensure a stable food supply for an ever-increasing number of people.

The Fundamentals of AI in Agriculture

Securing the Global Food Supply with AI

The role of AI in agriculture is crucial in addressing the world’s food security needs. By harnessing the power of predictive analytics and intelligent automation, AI is instrumental in optimizing agricultural outputs. These technologies enable farmers to predict weather patterns, monitor soil conditions, and manage irrigation systems with precision, leading to increased crop yields and a more reliable food supply.

Elevating Crop Health with Precision Farming

Precision farming is one of the most transformative applications of AI in agriculture. This approach uses AI to monitor crops continuously, providing farmers with detailed insights into the health and needs of their plants. With this information, they can make informed decisions about irrigation, fertilization, and pest control, resulting in healthier crops and higher-quality harvests.

Combating Labor Shortages with AI-Driven Automation

Labor shortages have long been a challenge in the agricultural sector. AI is addressing this issue by introducing autonomous machines and drones that can perform routine tasks like planting, harvesting, and crop monitoring. This automation not only alleviates the labour shortage but also allows human workers to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of farm management.

Boosting Economic Viability with Strategic AI Implementation

The economic benefits of AI in agriculture are significant. By employing AI for strategic planning, farmers can optimize pricing and reduce costs associated with labour and inputs. This leads to improved profit margins and economic sustainability for farms of all sizes.

Promoting Sustainable Practices with AI

Sustainability is a critical concern in modern farming, and AI is playing a key role in promoting eco-friendly practices. AI systems can monitor environmental conditions and manage farming practices to minimize their impact on the land. This includes optimizing the use of water and fertilizers, reducing waste, and preventing over-farming.

AI as the Future of Farming

The integration of AI into agriculture is not just about improving current practices; it’s about building a sustainable and resilient future for farming. AI has the potential to become the ultimate steward of the land, constantly monitoring and adjusting every aspect of the farming process. It can respond to changes in climate and environmental conditions in real time, ensuring that crops remain healthy and productive.

Embracing AI in agriculture is essential for the future of farming. It offers a path to increased efficiency, productivity, and sustainability, aligning the needs of humanity with the health of our planet. As we move forward, AI will continue to play a vital role in feeding the world’s population while preserving the environment for generations to come.


Fertilizer and nutrition management: Guidance for farmers


Fertilizer and nutrition management plays a crucial role in modern agriculture, ensuring optimal crop growth and yield. However, it is essential to strike a balance between providing adequate nutrients to plants and avoiding excessive fertilizer application. In this blog, we will explore the importance of optimizing fertilizer/nutrition management to minimize waste, save costs, and promote environmental sustainability.

Farmers must have a comprehensive understanding of their crops’ nutrient requirements at different growth stages. Conducting soil tests and analysing plant tissue samples can provide valuable insights into the specific nutrient deficiencies or excesses. This knowledge allows farmers to tailor their fertilizer application to meet the precise needs of their crops.


Precision Agriculture Techniques

Utilizing precision agriculture techniques, such as remote sensing and GPS technology, can help farmers identify areas within their fields that require varying levels of fertilizer application. By mapping nutrient variability, farmers can apply fertilizers more efficiently, targeting specific areas that need supplementation while reducing unnecessary application in areas with sufficient nutrient levels.

Implementing Nutrient Management Plans

Developing and implementing nutrient management plans is crucial for optimizing fertilizer use. These plans outline the appropriate types, amounts, and timing of fertilizer application based on crop requirements and soil conditions. By following these plans, farmers can avoid over-application, which not only wastes resources but also poses environmental risks such as nutrient runoff into water bodies.


Utilizing Organic and Sustainable Practices

Incorporating organic and sustainable practices can help reduce the reliance on synthetic fertilizers. Techniques such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and composting can enhance soil fertility naturally, reducing the need for excessive fertilizer application. These practices also promote soil health, biodiversity, and long-term sustainability.

Educating Farmers

Education and awareness are key to promoting optimal fertilizer/nutrition management. Providing farmers with access to training programs, workshops, and resources on best practices can empower them to make informed decisions regarding fertilizer application. Sharing success stories and case studies of farmers who have adopted efficient nutrient management practices can inspire others to follow suit.


Monitoring and Evaluation

Regular monitoring and evaluation of crop health, soil nutrient levels, and yield can help farmers assess the effectiveness of their fertilizer/nutrition management practices. By tracking these metrics, farmers can adjust as needed, ensuring that they neither under-apply nor over-apply fertilizers.

Optimizing fertilizer/nutrition management is crucial for sustainable agriculture. By avoiding excessive fertilizer application, farmers can save costs, minimize environmental impacts, and promote long-term soil health. Simultaneously, ensuring adequate nutrient supply is essential to maximize crop productivity. By adopting precision agriculture techniques, implementing nutrient management plans, and embracing organic and sustainable practices, farmers can strike the right balance between efficiency and environmental responsibility. Together, let’s work towards a future where agriculture thrives while preserving our planet.

It’s important to consult with agricultural experts and local guidelines to tailor fertilizer nutrition management practices to specific crops, regions, and soil conditions. Our team of experts are here to help, get in touch today to speak to our advisers on how we can support you.

Top 5 reasons to shop local and support farmers

Top 5 reasons to shop local and support farmers

Top 5 reasons to shop local and support farmers

More people than ever are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle with less negative impact on the environment, and one of the best ways to do this is to shop local.


When we say ‘shop local’ we mean buying food and other necessities produced nearby, rather than depending on groceries and other items shipped from overseas or outside of our local area. While the exact definition of ‘local’ can vary, depending on the production ability of your local area, it is usually anything produced within a 150-mile radius.

Here are some great reasons to shop local:

Locally grown produce tastes better.

It makes sense – which would have more flavour, a tomato grown locally, or one harvested weeks ago, then packed, shipped, stored, and then distributed to supermarkets up and down the country? Produce bought locally at farmer’s markets or other local venues is often harvested just a day or two beforehand, ensuring fresher and more delicious fruit and vegetables for you.

Food grown locally is more nutritious.

For similar reasons, food that is harvested weeks or even months before it hits the supermarket shelves has fewer vitamins and nutrients than locally grown fruit and vegetables. Once you pick a vegetable, its nutritional value will slowly reduce over time, so it’s best eaten as soon as possible. Often, produce like avocados and bananas, which have to be shipped in from overseas, are picked well before they have ripened, whereas local produce can be grown to full ripeness before harvesting. 

You will support your local economy.

Shopping locally supports local businesses, creates jobs, and strengthens your local economy. By buying directly from farmers, you cut out the middleman of distributors and big corporations, so your money goes directly to food producers.

Local produce has a smaller carbon footprint.

When you shop locally, the food has to travel a much shorter distance to get to the consumer, i.e. you. Food that has travelled thousands of miles from other countries or even other continents will have a much higher carbon footprint, contributing to climate change. 

It supports biodiversity and soil health.

Locally grown food is more likely to be organic, and less likely to be grown using heavy pesticides and herbicides. These are not only a little questionable for human health but can lead to soil degradation, a reduction in essential pollinators, and potential contamination of water and air. 

If you want to implement more sustainable farming practices and reduce reliance on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, ESUS Agri can help – get in touch with us here.

Slurry Investment Scheme – Guidance for Farmers

slurry investment scheme

Slurry Investment Scheme – Guidance for Farmers

Slurry is generated by livestock farming activities as waste from animals, and can be a fantastic fertiliser which is full of nitrates, phosphate and potash, all helping to boost soil health and support the growth of healthy crops. This can reduce reliance on synthetic fertilisers, which can be expensive for farmers and contribute to a myriad of other issues.


The thing is, storing slurry can be quite difficult, and if improperly stored, can pollute the water and air. This is why DEFRA is currently offering grants to help farmers invest in the infrastructure required to safely store slurry.

What is the slurry investment scheme?


This is a grant that can help farmers store more slurry safely and sustainably that complies with current DEFRA regulations regarding slurry storage. The slurry infrastructure grant is currently in round 2, and farmers can apply for between £25,000 and £50,000 to improve their slurry storage. The deadline for applications for round 2 of grant funding is 


This grant can be used for replacing existing slurry stores, expanding and building additional slurry storage, and equipment that can be used for slurry management such as reception pits, slurry stores, separators and agitators. The grant will cover 50% of the total invoice costs of these upgrades.


How to access the slurry investment scheme grant


In order to access the grant, farmers must:


  • Farm pigs, dairy or beef cattle
  • Not already produce and store slurry in line with the grant storage requirements
  • Not have stores in place which are already fit for purpose
  • Keep up with the minimum requirements of slurry storage
  • Use a nutrient management plan based on soil sampling
  • Keep the grant-funded slurry store covers in place, except when doing maintenance


For more information and guidance on the slurry infrastructure grant, see this DEFRA farming blog post and applicant guidance from gov.uk for more details, and calculate your slurry storage requirements with the AHDB’s slurry wizard tool.


Do you need some help accessing the slurry infrastructure grant, or other government schemes and funding? ESUS Agri can help – click here to get in touch with us

+ today.

Back British Farming: How major supermarket, Morrisons, is leading the way in supporting UK farmers

Morrisons supporting farmers

Supermarket Morrisons has added a ‘buy British’ tab to their online shop at morrisons.com, enabling shoppers to buy British produce easily.


The NFU supports this decision, which comes after years of campaigns urging UK supermarkets to back British farming. MP Dr Luke Evans wrote an open letter, requesting UK supermarkets to add a ‘British’ filter to their online shops. This follows the NFU’s 2016 online labelling campaign which aims to make it easier for shoppers to identify British food when shopping online. A survey of UK adults found that 86% of them want to buy more British food.


Other supermarkets do not have this level of functionality on their website as yet. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have made some efforts towards this, as they do have sections for British seasonal produce on their fruit and vegetable pages. Sainsbury’s also has a button that enables shoppers to select British meat and fish, and Ocado provides a ‘Best of British’ page. These are some positive steps that can help shoppers and farmers alike. 




Morrisons has also supported British farming by launching a support package that underwrites 100% of the cost of growing crops. Morrisons has provided this support package to a collection of potato and carrot farmers as of August 2023. If this scheme proves successful, they hope to roll it out to more farms in 2024. This package offers farmers financial security by mitigating the risks of crop growing, such as weather fluctuations and costs of land and fertilisers.



Here at ESUS Agri, we work with farmers across the West Country, providing agricultural consultancy and sustainable solutions. If you need some assistance with applying for government funding schemes, applying regenerative farming techniques, maximising profits, and more, get in touch with us.



Farming Overlooked in the Latest UK Shortage Occupation List

Farm staff shortage - Esus Agri Ltd

The agriculture and horticulture industries were recently overlooked in the government’s latest Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The UK shortage occupation list 2023 published in October did not cite agricultural roles on the list and this is unlikely to change in the near future.


The Shortage Occupation List pdf, lists occupations where employers face a shortage of suitable labour and where it is deemed appropriate to fill those shortages with migrant workers. For industries listed in the review, this means favourable UK immigration rules with the aim to help mitigate labour shortages. While previous reports have highlighted labour shortages in farming, this was overlooked in the UK shortage occupation list 2023, an outcome which has been deemed ‘disappointing’ by the NFU.  In its own recent review, the NFU challenged the outcome, conducting a survey on 563 of its members. The findings were a stark reminder of the challenges UK farmers are facing… 41.5% of respondents who are struggling to recruit and retain workers have reduced their production levels, a great concern when it comes to British food production. 


NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw shared his thoughts “It’s disappointing that the evident shortages impacting the agriculture industry haven’t been recognised. We know farmers are having difficulty recruiting long-term for vital roles in their farm businesses.”


Farming and the UK Shortage Occupation List - Esus Agri Ltd

The NFU review recommended the following roles to be added to the Shortage Occupation List:


  • Machine operator (field)/harvest operator
  • Dairy technician
  • Horticulture/potato supervisor with language skills
  • Egg grader
  • Poultry shed cleaner
  • General farmworker
  • Hatchery operative/catcher
  • Machine operator (packhouse).


To conclude, it goes without saying that UK farmers continue to face great difficulty in recruiting vital roles and this is undoubtedly impacting national production levels. Here at Esus Agri Ltd, we are in agreement that The Shortage Occupation List should most certainly be reconsidered and it’s in everyone’s best interest to mitigate labour shortages within the industry and support UK farmers.


Before you go…

Esus Agri Ltd has been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering truly sustainable solutions that drive real results for farming businesses across Devon, Somerset and the rest of the UK. To find out how we can support you with farm diversification, business management advice, step-by-step farm grants applications and more, contact us today!



What Farmers Can Learn From Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop

Jeremy Clarkson headshot - Esus Agri Ltd

The latest series of Jeremy Clarkson’s hit series which documents life on his 1, 000-acre Cotswolds farm has once again achieved great success. Clarkson’s Farm broke Prime Video viewing records, achieving a record of over 4.3 million views across the country for the first episode of his 2nd series and surpassing highly acclaimed series such as Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.  The series has been praised by farmers across the country for bringing the realities and struggles of modern farming to UK households. Well known for his opinionated and humorous nature, Clarkson does not hold back when sharing his experiences with running Diddly Squat farm shop and farm. In this article we take a look at some of the lessons farmers can learn from his approach.

Bringing the realities and struggles of farming into sharp focus

Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop - Esus Agri Ltd

Dubbed a triumph, Clarkson’s Farm does a great job in showcasing the everyday struggles faced by the sector. From Government red tape burdens to sustainability, Jeremy also speaks frankly concerning various topics such as financial difficulty, shedding light on the importance of diversification and exploring different avenues such as the Diddly Squat farm shop.


What farmers can learn from Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm shop

Queue outside Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm Shop - Esus Agri Ltd

While his journey has been far from smooth, there are many lessons farmers can learn from Jeremy Clarkson’s series, particularly when it comes to farm diversification. The show serves as a stark reminder of the uncertain future that many British farmers face with increasing financial pressures and the need to explore multiple revenue streams such as the Diddly Squat farm shop. With an estimate of 33% of agricultural businesses already diversifying in one way or another, it is becoming a necessity that farmers cannot ignore. However, as the show highlights, it is crucial to ensure you do your due diligence, check whether planning permission is required and seek some professional guidance.


Farming business consultancy, advice and grant support

Here at Esus Agri Ltd, we have been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering truly sustainable solutions that drive real results. To find out how we can support you with farm diversification, business management advice and step-by-step grants applications, contact us today!



Robots in Agriculture: The Future of Robotic Farming

Robots in Agriculture - Esus Agri Ltd

There are many reasons farmers are increasingly adopting agricultural robots. From increasing labour shortages and costs to a rise in demand for higher food production, the current conditions present a great a great opportunity for the increase in use of robots in agriculture. In this article, we explore the future of robotic farming and opportunities UK farmers cannot afford to miss.

What are agricultural robots?


Agricultural robotics refers to machinery that is capable of carrying out a series of automated tasks and is deployed for agricultural purposes. Thanks to innovations in tech in recent years, agricultural robotics can bring automation, efficiency and precision when it comes to undertaking various tasks from oil sampling and weed control to planting seeds and harvesting.


What are agricultural robots used for?


Robots in agriculture can bring efficiency and cost savings to any task, big or small. From simple repetitive simple tasks to complex tasks, robots can be the perfect solution.


Below are some examples of existing agricultural robotics:

  • Fruit picking robots
  • Autonomous tractors
  • Driverless sprayers
  • Sheep shearing robots
  • Weeding robots
  • Seed planting drones
  • Ariel imagery drones
  • Soil sampling robots


Benefits of robots in agriculture



Agricultural drone on farmland - Esus Agri Ltd



There are many advantages to adopting robots in agriculture. Unlike humans, robots can carry out tasks much quicker and without the need for breaks in between. This allows farmers to cut down costs and be more efficient. Also farmers have fallen victim to labour shortages caused by a decrease in seasonal farmworkers, but the use of robotics can combat this and reduce their reliance on and costs of labour.

Below are a few more benefits of leveraging agricultural robotics:


  • Increased profitability


  • Increased accuracy


  • Waste reduction


  • Cost-effectiveness



The future of agricultural robotics:

Agricultural drone on farmland - Esus Agri Ltd

The first development of agricultural robots dates back to the 1920s and it’s fair to say this technology has come a long way since. According to research, the agricultural robotics market is expected to reach $11.58 billion by 2025 and is expected to see further growth in the coming decade. This means farmers can expect to see an increase in new developments coming to the surface to help them improve efficiency and profitability. It is predicted that such future developments when it comes to robots in agriculture will particularly involve self-driving cars.


Before you go…

Esus Agri Ltd has been helping farmers thrive since 1995. We have worked with farms from 40 ha to 100,000 ha, delivering sustainable solutions to enable the owners to achieve their goals. To find out how we can support you with farm business advice and step-by-step grants applications, get in touch today.