Regenerative Agriculture

Over the last few years, the term “Regenerative Agriculture” has become more widely recognised, but with little clarity of what it actually defines. We at Oakbank believe Regenerative Agriculture is a system-based approach following a set of principles, which aims to work with nature to improve soil health, increase biodiversity and enhance ecosystem services. To “regenerate” suggests improving a place or system, making it more active or successful, which is what we are trying to achieve with Regenerative Agriculture. However, it is important that the success of this system is measured holistically with the wider ecosystem, rather than simply through performance indicators such as yield. Regenerative Agriculture is non-prescriptive, allowing farmers to approach it in a manner of different ways depending on their context. This encourages innovation and improvements in our social, economic and environmental actions.   

The Core Principles of Regenerative Agriculture:

  • Understand the context

  • Minimise soil disturbance

  • Maintain soil surface cover

  • Maintain living roots

  • Increase species diversity

  • Incorporate livestock where possible

1 Understand The Context

2 Minimise Soil Disturbance

3 Maintain soil surface cover

4 Maintain living roots

5 Increase Species Diversity

6 Incorporate Livestock

Although there are a lot of farmers in the UK doing this well, they are certainly the minority as opposed to the majority. Growers are clearly facing an ever-increasing list of pressures and challenges, including the increased frequency of extreme weather events, the removal of BPS and the soaring inflation of agricultural inputs seen in 2021. This highlights the importance of increasing overall farm resilience, whether that is through improving soil health or reducing the reliance on heavy chemical and fertiliser applications. If implemented correctly, Regenerative Agriculture has the potential to deliver an array of ecosystem benefits. These include increased biodiversity, carbon sequestration, improved soil health, reduced input requirement, improved local air/water quality – the list goes on!

How can Oakbank help?

At Oakbank, Ian Gould has taken the lead in understanding Regenerative Agriculture, and in particular how we can assist growers to use plants to improve their soils and transition to a more sustainable system. Oakbank is actively involved with this increasingly important market, including substantial trials with Sky Agriculture, Opico and Indigro. An example of this ongoing work we are doing with Indigro surrounding Living Mulches in an Arable Rotation

Regenerative Agriculture really is a huge topic, and we would be delighted to help you with your project whatever your starting point. We can supply a complete service for cover and companion cropping, which we have been developing for the last 5 years. If you have an interest in cover and companion cropping, please give us a call and we will be pleased to offer whatever advice you need. We can also add you to our Cover Crop group so that you are advised of any relevant events that are happening.

We offer a complete range of species to meet your cover cropping needs, which we are able to offer in straights, standard mixes, or we are happy to assist in creating a bespoke mixture to suit your particular requirement. See our Cover Crop products page to find out more about the products we offer


We understand the scale of the topic and the fact that there is fast becoming and overwhelming realm of less reliable information out there. If you are new to this topic, there is no better reference than the excellent book by American farmer and rancher Gabe Brown, “Dirt to Soil, One Family’s Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture”. There is also plenty of other good reading resources which can be found on our Suggested Reading page.

There are some excellent UK based farmers that are also adopting these principles and we would encourage you to become members of BASE-UK to learn from and share experiences. (

We have also produced a range of online webinars with the likes of Joel Williams, Dr. Christine Jones and Nicole Masters which can be viewed.

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