Carlsberg signs up 23 farmers to grow ‘regenerative’ barley

Twenty-three UK arable farmers have signed contracts with brewing giant Carlsberg to grow 7,000t of barley to new regenerative standards this year.

It comes as Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company has made a commitment that, by 2027, it will use only regenerative barley to produce Carlsberg Danish Pilsner, extending that to all its UK brands by 2031.  

See also: Regenerative agriculture – what to avoid and how to start

Under the new growing protocols, developed in conjunction with farming consultancy Ceres Rural, the 23 supplying farms must adhere to a set of practices, including no-till or min-till cultivation and growing a species-rich cover crop ahead of each spring barley crop.

Other measures include growing a minimum of three different crops in any five-year cropping rotation, and restricting fertiliser and pesticide use to only what a field or crop demands.

Among the 23 grower farms is the Iford Estate in East Sussex.

Its managing director, Ben Taylor, said he hoped it would be the “start of a long-term partnership”.

“It’s great that Carlsberg Marston’s recognises the benefits to biodiversity and ecosystems services of farming regeneratively and are actively rewarding those farmers who use these techniques,” said Mr Taylor.

The farms will be audited by Ceres Rural.

Alice Andrew, an associate partner at the firm, said government and industry support for farmers will help scale up regenerative practices.

With expert advice, peer-to-peer learning and the collection of local data, it will give more farmers the confidence to adapt their own practices, she suggested.