We know that switching to a completely new agricultural system can be difficult. However, we really believe in the difference Regenerative Agriculture can make for the climate, the environment, and farmers. With this series of articles on Regenerative Agriculture, we aim to cover its basics and bust common myths and misconceptions one might have about it.
Regenerative Agriculture is a term for a soil cultivation practice where, instead of tilling, the aim is to promote the natural soil processes as much as possible, protect the soil from wind and weather, and through crop rotation attempt to avoid the propagation of diseases and weeds.
The three principles behind Regenerative Agriculture are:
• Minimal soil disturbance
• Permanent soil cover - either by a crop, a cover crop, or crop residues
• A varied crop rotation
• Additionally, livestock can be included in a Regenerative Agriculture rotation (Check the bottom of the page for distinction).
Instead of tilling and harrowing, Regenerative Agriculture works to create the best possible conditions for terrestrial organisms. Their activity can help ensure dead organic material (crop residues) is decomposed and incorporated into the soil.
At the same time, the activity ensures that cavities and pores are created in the soil in order for the soil to become airy and porous and thus create room for oxygen and water.
By aiming for a permanent cover on the soil's surface, the soil is protected from the drying out caused by the sun. Moreover, the plant cover protects the soil surface from wind and water, which can physically break the structure of the soil causing erosion.
A varied crop rotation counteracts the multiplication of weeds and diseases, which in a traditional tilled system can be limited to some extent by turning the soil.
Please note that it is important to distinguish the differences between Regenerative and Conservation Agriculture. As Regenerative Agriculture can also include the grazing of livestock (such as Sheep, Goats, Cattle & Pigs, among others) and most importantly, the natural fertiliser that they excrete onto the land during e.g., cover and catch crop rotations and used by the crops to grow. Creating a full-circle Regenerative Agriculture system.
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