Regenerative Farming: 5 Principles and Practices

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regenerative farming

Do you know that with the help of farming practices like regenerative farming, we can potentially reverse the negative effects of industrial agriculture?

Over the last few centuries, the standard use of agriculture and industrial farming practices have caused a decrease in land suitable for food production.

Instead of creating nutrient-rich soil, these practices have reduced soil’s arability.

Regenerative farming not only makes sure that there is no harm to the soil but the soil actually improves and revitalizes the soil and environment.

Moreover, it leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high-quality, nutrient-dense food.

At the smake time improve the land that then degrading it.

It is a mixture of permaculture and organic farming practices that improves your land and its fertility.

Let’s learn more about regenerative farming, the 5 principles, and practices.

Regenerative Farming

Regenerative farming or agriculture is the term coined by organic farming researchers at the Rodale Institute in the 1980s.

It consists of holistic and dynamic farming practices that aim to improve the health of the soil and reverse climate change.

This is done by expanding biodiversity, improving the water cycle, increasing the organic matter in the structure of the soil, and transferring the carbon from the atmosphere into the soil.

Researchers and advocates of regenerative agriculture avoid using chemical pesticides.

They encourage the use of methods like crop rotation, livestock rotation, composting, no-till farming, agroecology, and agroforestry.

Moreover, it helps to increase the amount of arable topsoil, which results in a healthier, better food system.

5 Principle of Regenerative Farming

The following is the list of primary principles of regenerative agricultural practices:

Reducing Soil Disturbances

Due to agricultural practices in the past, i.e. industrial agriculture, it has lead to accelerated soil erosion.

Therefore, the foremost requirement for soil regeneration is to minimize tillage and reduce soil disturbance.

Covering the Soil

Ensuring a good top layer of the soil is crucial to making or regenerating the soil.

A layer of green crops can help to protect the surface of the soil from harmful sin rays and frost. Thus preventing the rain from washing the beneficial top layer away.

Moreover, it enhances the ability of soil to retain water capacity, thus, accelerating a better nutrient cycle.

Ensuring Live Roots all-year-round

Planting living roots in the soil for a maximum time of the year provides enough soil layer.

These plant roots that are photosynthesizing will produce nutrition for the symbionts at the soil food web’s base.

In turn, these micro-organisms will fertilize the current and future crops.

regenerative farming 2

Practicing Crop Diversity

Monoculture can deprive or strip the soil of its important nutrients and promote erosion.

Farming a diverse range of crops can ensure a balance of soil nutrients as different plants mineralize specific nutrients.

This provides them with a balanced diet for the soil.

Thus, crop rotation, companion cropping, and cover crops are a few ways to achieve it.

Integrate Livestock

Integrative livestock grazing into your farming practices can help to increase the benefits of the above techniques.

Grazing animals can help soil composting by dispersing the seeds and breaking the capped soil.

Hence facilitating the gaseous exchange.

Common Practices of Regenerative Farming

Regenerative farming practices involve the following primary land use and practices:

No-Till Farming

These practices are important as they help to minimize soil disturbances.

This technique involves planting the seeds with the help of disc planters or drillers and pasture cropping.

The latter, however, requires sowing dormant annual plants in perennial pastures that help to improve diversification and improve productivity.

Organic Cropping

Sustainable farming also involves using natural and organic pesticides and organic fertilizers like manure, animal compost, and plant wastes that are environment-friendly.

The benefits of these practices to the ecology or the living environment are it reduces soil erosion, minimizes leaching of nutrients into groundwater, and waste recycling.

Integrating Animal Grazing

This can help to promote soil fertility by eliminating pests and weeds.

At the same time, it facilitates animal breeding in natural conditions.

regenerative farming 1

Perennial Cropping

Planting perennial crops is a soil protection technique that helps to reduce the effects of erosion by carrier agents like wind and water.

Moreover, it helps to minimize the need for chemical inputs and billing operations.

Agroforestry or Silvopasture

This technique involves planting trees, shrubs, palms, and bamboos with extensive root systems with crops to protect the others from strong winds and rain.

On the other hand, silvopasture helps to manage livestock, trees, and forage in the same productive agricultural landscape.

Both of these practices help to diversify and sustain production to increase social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Mitigating the Climate Change

Regenerative farming can help to mitigate climate changes.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

With the help of reducing the soil tilling practices, you can reduce the release of carbon dioxide when the carbon is sequestered in the soil is exposed to the air.

It can help to increase the capacity of the soil to capture carbon, which will help to reverse the effects of global warming.

Using organic fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers reduces the demand for synthetic counterparts that require the burning of fossil fuels for their production.

Furthermore, the use of chemical fertilizers releases nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas leading to higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide.

practices

It is important to note that nitrous oxide is 265 times more by weight than carbon dioxide.

Agroforestry encourages afforestation and reforestation which helps to transform land degradation into natural carbon sinks.

One of the main advantages of this type of agriculture is the improved soil quality and health.

With water retention, the soil becomes visibly thicker, aiding in better root connectivity.

This increase facilitates groundwater recharge as well.

Thus, enriching the soil quality counters the need to clear more land for agriculture, thus, preserving existing biodiversity.

Livestock grazing after harvest encourages the conversion of high-carbon resides to low-carbon organic manure.

The natural manure distribution of rotational grazing helps to regenerate carbon in the soil by storing organic matter and capturing the methane and nitrous oxide.

Both of these are greenhouse gases that help to decompose manure.

How a Global Shift can Bring Change?

A global shift to regenerative agriculture can help to:

Feed the world as small farmers already feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland.

A new food system can help derive solutions to climate change.

The current industrial food system is responsible for 44 to 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, can help to decrease GHG emissions.

Decreasing the emission of greenhouse gases is not enough.

Luckily according to research, you can play a role in reversing climate change by increasing the soil carbon stocks.

In case of extreme weather and climate change, the yields on organic farms are significantly higher than conventional farms.

global change

Thus, with regenerative farming, you can improve the yield of your crops.

The addition of organic matter into the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil.

Therefore, regenerative organic agriculture builds soil organic matter.

Regenerative agriculture can help boost local economies. Moreover, it nurtures biodiversity.

Biodiversity is important to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation.

1/3 of the Earth’s surface is grasslands, and 70% of which is degraded.

You can help restore them with the help of planned grazing.

With more diverse agroecosystems, it can ensure a more diverse nutrient output of the farming systems.

Understanding the Difference between Regenerative and Organic Agriculture

You might be thinking about what makes organic farming and regenerative farming different.

For the products to characterize as organic products many farmers have to undergo a number of rules and regulations.

These define the practices and substances you can use as a farmer to grow your crops.

For instance, you cannot use genetically modified seeds to grow crops.

Moreover, you also cannot use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Using any such thing does not categorize your produce as organic.

On the other hand, regenerative agriculture is more about principles than practices.

different from organic farming

It focuses more on the outcomes that are the actual improvement to the soil health and the overall quality and health of the land, i.e. land, water, plants, animals, and humans,

Moreover, it is an adaptive management approach that supports the health of the soil. There is no definite way or recipe as each farm or ranch has different natural resources, climate variability, and living environments.

You can apply these principles to a particular region, operations, or personal situation.

However, the decisions on the land are important.

Understanding nature can be complex in some situations, there are good practices that can go wrong at the time of application.

Or under the wrong conditions can hurt, not help the land.

Final Thoughts

Regenerative agriculture is a farming practice that consists of certain principles and practices to help improve biodiversity, enrich the soil, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.

The basis of this farming is strengthening the health and vitality of the soil, rather than extensive use of soil and its nutrients, it helps to improve and build soil health by composting, recycling waste, reducing the process of tilling, and others.

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