4 Effective Methods to Implement Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture is a sustainable farming method, whose goal is to improve soil quality and biodiversity in agricultural areas through traditional practices. In other words, practicing regenerative agriculture is equivalent to implementing cultivation techniques known for centuries, but abandoned with the advent of industrial-scale agriculture (i.e. the practice of monocultures, the use of herbicides and biotechnology to create GMOs). 

Returning to the agriculture of the past, helps to combat climate change and preserve ecosystems that would otherwise be destroyed through the use of chemical fertilizers. 

With regenerative agriculture, the soil regains a strong, less compact structure with more organic matter. This promotes the permeability of rainwater. As water passes more easily through the soil, it will not cause major flooding events during downpours or long rainy periods and will feed the groundwater. 

Regenerative agriculture VS sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture, is a set of techniques that allow the retention of soil nutrients in order not to compromise the use of the land for future generations. However, farming sustainably does not recreate ecosystems, but simply maintains them in their current state without causing further damage. Many practices that are called sustainable do not significantly reduce soil degradation.

Here is an example to make the idea of the concept clearer: a sustainable product is made from 100% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable, but it does not improve the quality of the environment.

Regenerative agriculture is not only sustainable, it enriches the land by improving its fertility by restoring soil biodiversity year after year. 

Campo agricolo con tecniche di agricoltura rigenerativa

Best practices in conservation agriculture

1. No-till farming

This technique, refers to the sowing and cultivation of vegetables on untilled land, where there are the remains of old cultivations. Tillage is disadvantageous to the environment because it destroys soil structure, promoting nutrient loss.

The no-till seeding technique, on the other hand, prevents erosion and improves the health of the field. The drawback is that not all seeds are able to penetrate the hard soil; the best crops that are ready for this type of practice are: corn, soybeans, sunflowers and barley.

sod tecnica di agricoltura rigenerativa chiamata seeding o no till farming

2. Increase biodiversity

Planting different varieties of crops within the field or planting crops other than those used for agricultural purposes (e.g. beneficial flowers, which attract pollinating insects) is a great way to increase biodiversity. Other effective methods are: planting perennial trees and leaving small piles of dry branches along field boundaries to encourage nesting.

3. Crop rotation

It is a very ancient agricultural practice, but often forgotten by today’s farmers. Basically, it involves dividing a cultivated land into several parts (usually 4 parts). Annually, in. Each part of land is cultivated a different species. This technique promotes fertility and provides a better yield of produce without the need for chemical fertilizers.

Here is an example of 4 crop rotation: Wheat turnip barley clover.

Following the principle of crop rotation, to make regenerative agriculture more effective, it is advisable to integrate livestock into the fields. Some fields, not being cultivated, can be a suitable place for grazing animals, which, by making the structure of herbaceous plants more resistant and extended, increases the release of nutrients into the soil. In addition, the waste produced by livestock can be used in agriculture.

4. Intercropping

Intercropping is the cultivation of more varieties of plants on the same field and in the same period of time. This technique can be done by planting small lines of different species or by mixing seeds completely, in case the species have different sizes such as corn and beans.

The intercropping is advantageous because it limits the expansion of pests and increases soil productivity.

Alessandro Azzolin
Alessandro Azzolin
Digital marketing intern, with interests in different cultures. My priority is the preservation of ecosystems.
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