Graze Debate 2022

People being briefed at Graze Debate

The Graze Debate theme aims to facilitate discussion between pasture-based farmers, researchers and advisors in the pursuit of a sustainable beef and sheep sector in Scotland. 

The first Graze Debate conference held in 2019 and included presentations from farmers (Jamie Lesley, Rob Havard, Graham Lofthouse and Charley Walker), scientists (Professor Christine Watson, Professor Tommy Boland and Dr Mike Evans) and advisors, (Poppy Frater and Jack Keeys). We discussed the science of soil carbon sequestration, the value of diverse swards, the interaction between rotational grazing and parasitic worm burdens, holistic grazing, paddock grazing and the value of FARMAX software to determine profitable farming strategies.

The conference went online in 2021, when we showcased the latest research, advice, and practice to improve grazing utilisation on Scottish farms (see ‘Farmers night’ recording available here, ‘SAC Advisor’ night recording available here, and ‘Researcher night’ recording available here). We also produced the ‘Forage First Sheep Systems’ guide.

Graze Debate 2022 has asked a bigger question: can we achieve efficient production from forage whilst scoring well on other elements of farm sustainability such as biodiversity, soil health and resilience?

Through a series of on farm events, we looked at ‘the win-win’ practices, including multispecies swards, deferred grazing and agroforestry. We were delighted to work with the following farms who are case studies of how balancing various aspects of sustainability exceptionally well. Below you will also find links to related videos around encouraging pollinators, sustainability scoring and how the Graze Debate went in 2022.

Links to farm case studies:

Edinvale Farm

Oakwood Mill

Maxwelston Farm

SRUC Hill and Mountain Research Centre

We also produced the following guide: Encouraging Pollinators without costing production.

Links to videos:

Lorna Cole, SAC Advisor – Encouraging Pollinators on Sheep and Beef farms 

Poppy Frater, SAC Sheep and Grassland Specialist – Scoring the aspects of sustainability 

Jock Gibson, Edinvale Farm – How the Graze Debate went down in August 2022 

Looking forward, we plan to host another conference in September 2023 and have a new guide in development ‘Forage First Beef Systems’, stay tuned.

If you would like to join the Graze Debate mailing list, please me, Poppy Frater at

This activity is funded through the Scottish Funding Council University Innovation Fund.

Posted by Poppy Frater on 01/11/2022

Tags: Climate and Environment, SAC Consulting, Soil and crops
Categories: Sustainability | Consulting and Commercial