Scientists and farmers worldwide are bringing forth a solution to the global warming crisis. Regenerative farming processes help farmers be more sustainable by yielding crops needed for production while prioritizing the ecosystem's health.
For many years, modern product and food production has been causing the decline of the ecosystem, resulting in drastic climate change and other harmful environmental effects. However, general production is a necessity for living. Let’s about this sustainable agriculture process and why production industries should use them.
What Is Regenerative Agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is a sustainable way of farming that allows the soil to replenish its nourishment while combating climate change. This method has been around for centuries to battle the negative consequences of industrial agriculture. This historic technique tries to repair the harm done to the land and environment, which are essential to human survival.
Food production runs on the topsoil-- 95% of food comes from it. Soil can continue production for 60 years without changing how people grow it. But the rise of chemical fertilizers to enhance the soil's fertility lessens the soil's organic matter, which can result in acidification that produces greenhouse gas emissions resulting in climate change.
Different Regenerative Agriculture Practices
Although regenerative agriculture has been around for centuries, many farmers are still unaware of this sustainable method's techniques. Here are six regenerative agriculture practices you should know if you want to go green.
Crop rotation dates older than the regenerative method itself, but many farmers have abandoned this technique to make way for monocropping. Monocropping is the process of planting the crop in the soil year after year.
Crop rotation advocates that different plants should be planted on the soil at different times of the year. For example, you can plant winter crops for yield in the cold season. After that period, you can alternate crops such as peanuts, beans, and kale, which replenishes the soil's nitrogen and other nutrients.
It's a widespread practice for farmers to till their soil because they believe the turned-over soil will expose more nutrients for their newly planted crops. However, tilling the soil breaks the organic matter and damages the decomposer network, decreasing the soil's natural fertility.
Moreover, the tilling process brings the water to the surface, accelerating the evaporation process. The drier the soil gets, the more it is prone to erosion. If this situation is not managed and turned for the worse, it will lead to desertification. Reducing or completely eliminating tillage will preserve the soil's organic material and moisture, which also reduces the need for irrigation.
In definition, agroforestry means agriculture with trees. But more than that, the interaction between agriculture and trees includes using trees for agriculture. The interaction between different kinds of agriculture and trees brings many benefits to the ecosystem's health.
Trees play a vital role in land regeneration to improve soil health and the overall ecosystem. Here are some benefits when you do agroforestry.
- Separate carbon from the atmosphere.
- Surface water and nutrients from deep in the ground.
- Build the soil's organic matter.
- Create regulating microclimates.
- Provides food and shelter for livestock.
- Helps the agricultural landscape become more resilient.
Animal integration aims to combine animals into farms as a method of regenerative agricultural practice to improve soil health, segregate carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and lessen industrialized meat and dairy production.
Traditional farming systems have practiced raising livestock with crops. However, with the rise of industrial agriculture, the raising of crops and animals was segregated to advance specialization and improve efficiency and commodification.
Due to the growth of crop monocultures and industrialized meat and dairy production, which included using feedlots and confinement facilities, this split had detrimental effects on the health of people, animals, and the environment. Animal integration aims to end this and restore the balance in the ecosystem.
Compost and Manure
Composting is the process of creating a rich organic material that is comprised of kitchen scraps, farm and crop residues, manures, and yard waste. Anyone growing or eating food can do this. Compost and manure are fundamental to organic and regenerative agriculture and are the easiest to adopt.
The resulting material serves as an organic fertilizer that provides food for soil microbes which creates healthier soil and crops.
Cover cropping is a method of regenerative agriculture where you use plants to protect the soil, so it can't be used for cash crops. The primary purpose of planting cover crops is to increase soil fertility and quality. It also prevents soil erosion, improves water retention, and manages weeds, pests, and diseases.
Recent studies have shown the many positive impacts of cover crops, which:
- Increase soil nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
- Promotes healthier and more diverse soil microbiology.
- Reduces carbon sequestration, which helps decreases the impact of climate change.
3 Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture
The largest global producer of carbon dioxide is the agricultural sector. It accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans when combined with bad management. Many industries and individuals are now looking for more sustainable practices for agriculture.
We've talked endlessly about how regenerative methods aid to healthier soil and reversing climate change. But more than that, there are many reasons why you should start regenerative agriculture techniques.
Infiltration and biodiversity
By improving soil health, water infiltration also improves. Improved infiltration means less runoff, pollution, and erosion. In some situations, improved infiltration aids water flow that regenerates dried-up springs.
Furthermore, regenerative agriculture practices aid in biodiversity. More biodiversity makes ecosystems more adaptable and sustainable.
No GMO and healthier yields
One of the strongest arguments why industries should adopt regenerative agriculture is organically grown produce. Organic farming prevents the growing or production of genetically modified organisms.
Likewise, sticking to the organic process of growing crops will produce healthier yields. When plants get the nutrients they need, they build a synthesis that protects them from pests, insects, and diseases. Furthermore, studies support that regenerative techniques help produce nutrient-dense food which aids people's health.
Employing regenerative agriculture practices is cost-effective. You don't have to spend on artificial fertilizers because your soil can replenish its own nutrients and keep your crops healthy. Also, since the farm has a more resilient ecosystem that can withstand disturbances from invading or competing species, you won't need to spend as much money on costly pesticides and herbicides.
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