REGENERATIVE FARMING?

February 25, 2021 Hansie Britz

     

“Regenerative Farming” is the latest buzz in responsible agricultural management. It is similar to conservation farming. It combines the use of stubble retention, crop rotation and the minimum disturbance of the soil to promote soil health.

Although having the same aims, regenerative farming moves beyond the simple definition of “organic”  and “biological” production. It aims to adapt farming practices to what is happening in and around the plant. It also essentially mimic rather than work against nature.

The key to regenerative agriculture is that it not only “does no harm” to the land but actually improves it. It is done by using technologies that regenerate and revitalize the soil and the environment. Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food. It simultaneously improve, rather than degrade the land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies.

A breakdown of what’s typically involved with regenerating farming include but not limited to:

  • Crop rotation, or successively farming more than one plant on the same land.
  • Cover cropping, or planting year-round so the land isn’t fallow during off-seasons, which helps prevent soil erosion.
  • Conservative tillage, or less plowing of fields.
  • Cattle grazing, which naturally stimulates plant growth.
  • Curtailing the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Animal welfare and fair working practices for farmers.

Regenerative farming practices, such as cover cropping and livestock grazing, aim always to keep a living root in the soil. These practices cycle nutrients without aggressively disturbing the soil to keep carbon stored underground where it belongs. Meanwhile, , composting boosts populations of beneficial soil microbes that feed plants and help them manage pests. This reduces the need for fertilizers, which, when used excessively, can release nitrogen into the air. It also decreases dependence on herbicides and pesticides, which kill healthy bacteria and fungi in the soil.

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