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Regenerative agriculture 101 – understand the basics

The term regenerative agriculture has become unavoidable when talking about sustainable farming practices, but what does it mean and why is everybody suddenly talking about it?

Background

Traditional conventional farming practices have dominated farming systems around the world for decades, which has led to many adverse effects such as depleting the soil, releasing CO2, water pollution, eutrophication, and loss of biodiversity.

Due to more awareness of the environmental crises and soil health, farmers and researchers alike have focused on farming practices that mitigate these negative impacts. Many of these practices are old, traditional principles that were necessary when farming the land was harder, but some of the practices are new and only now widely available due to technological innovation.

At its heart, regenerative agriculture is centered around several core principles designed to restore and enhance the ecosystem: minimum soil disturbance, diversifying crop rotations, cover cropping, and reduction of synthetic inputs

Many other practices such as precision farming, livestock integration, biodiversity borders, addition of organic material, biostimulants, recirculated fertilizer, agroforestry, foliar fertilizer application, companion crops, living mulch, and legume integration can be valuable tools in regenerative farming, but this article focuses on the core principles.

Regenerative core principles

  • Minimum Soil Disturbance:

Traditional tilling practices disrupt soil structure, harm microbial life, and release stored CO2 into the atmosphere. Regenerative agriculture employs no-till or minimal-till techniques, preserving soil integrity and promoting carbon sequestration.

  • Diverse Crop Rotations:

Monocropping depletes soil nutrients and increases vulnerability to pests and diseases. In contrast, diverse crop rotations improve soil health, disrupt pest cycles, and enhance nutrient cycling. Studies have shown that diverse crop rotations can increase crop yields by 10-15% compared to monocropping systems .

  • Cover Cropping:

Keeping the soil covered year-round with cover crops prevents erosion, improves water retention, and enhances soil organic matter. Cover crops, such as legumes, also fix atmospheric nitrogen, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Evidence suggests that cover cropping can reduce soil erosion by more than 90% and increase soil organic matter by up to 1% annually.

  • Reducing Synthetic Inputs:

Excessive use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can degrade soil health and harm beneficial organisms. Regenerative practices emphasize the use of organic inputs and biological pest control methods.

Why is it not more widespread?

Despite its numerous benefits, regenerative farming is still not widely adopted. The reasons for this are complex and numerous, including lack of farmer help and education, financial incentives, and supportive policies.

It can be a complicated process to get started with regenerative farming, if you have farmed a certain way your whole life. Additionally, there might be an initial cost of new equipment, consulting, crop varieties, as well as a period of lower yields while the new system falls into place over 3-6 years. If there is no financial help or incentives to get started, it might be too great of an undertaking for many farmers to take the leap. 

Where can I learn more?

Check out our news site where we have an array of articles covering many aspects of regenerative farming in depth. If you are a farmer or a company, who wishes to get started with regenerative farming, you can also contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Study tour to the Groundswell Festival in England

Studytour to Groundswell England

June 24th to June 28th 2024

Again this year, Agrovi and Danish Farmers Abroad organize a study tour to England, where we focus on agriculture according to regenerative principles and agriculture in England after Brexit.

Regenerative practices improve the health of the soil, provides the best conditions for carbon storage, improves the soil’s water balance, and reduces the need for synthetic inputs, while there are fewer machine and labour costs.

It is a large part of Agrovi’s DNA to help build knowledge about cultivation practices within regenerative agriculture, to inform about the benefits and how to work with the challenges in the system.

We therefore invite you on a 3-day study tour about regenerative agriculture, which is both about practice directly in the field and about the development of methods, machinery and crop varieties.

The trip is organized in collaboration with Danish Farmers Abroad, which gives us the opportunity to choose a 5-day version of the study trip, where the first days are supplemented with a political angle “agriculture in England after Brexit”.

Practicalities

The price pr. person is 4.995 DKK + VAT for 3 days or 6.995 DKK + VAT for 5 days and includes:

  • Hotel shared twin room 2 or 4 nights
  • Bus transport Stansted-all visits and hotels – Stansted
  • All meals except during the day at Groundswell

It is possible to reserve single room (an extra fee applies).

The Groundswell ticket must be purchased individually online before travelling. All participants will receive a group discount code.

Registration as soon as possible and no later than May 10th

Program

  • Monday June 24th

    12:00 // We meet at Stansted Airport for lunch.

    13:00 // Bus to Pretoria Energy, approx. 1 hour drive

    14:00 // Pretoria Energy: 21 mW biogas plant working on extruded straw

    18.30 // Dinner in Stamford. We’re staying at The Crown Hotel, Stamford

  • Tuesday June 25th

    08:20 // Departure from hotel, driving time 5 min

    08:30 // Alltech and The Anderssons Centre
    Alltech Crop Science develops i.a. biostimulants, while Alltech E-CO2 works with measuring the CO2 footprint of the individual agricultural company and reducing the footprint. The Anderssons Center is one of the UK’s leading agricultural advice centres.

    • Patrick Charlton, VP for Alltech Europe: Introduction
    • Andrew Linscott from Alltech Crop Science: “Biostimulants use on various crops”
    • Will Streatfield from Alltech E- CO2: “Carbon audit – financial prospects for UK agriculture, how policy and trade have evolved post Brexit, and an outlook for the arable and pig productions”
    • James Webster from The Anderssons Centre“Financial prospects for UK agriculture, how policy and trade have evolved post Brexit, and an outlook for the arable and pig sectors”

    12:00 // Lunch

    13:00 // Leaving for James Dyson Farming, about 1 hour drive

    14:00 // James Dyson Farming:
    Behind the scenes of Dyson Farming with James Dyson (youtube.com)

    ”It’s all about science and mechanics and experimenting”

    14,500 hectares of high-tech large-scale agriculture In harmony with nature. 1,600 hectares are flower fallow, 400 km of hedges, 15 km of stone dykes, and forest. The soil is cultivated with regenerative methods, i.a. grazing with sheep and cattle. A biogas plant produces electricity and heat. The heat is used to heat 5.7 hectares of greenhouses with unsprayed strawberries, which are looked after by robots.

    16:30 // Departure to hotel near Stansted airport, driving time approx. 2 hours

    19:00 // Dinner

  • Wednesday, June 26th

    08:30 // Leaving Stansted Airport by bus headed at Groundswell.

    • We’re spending the whole day at Groundswell the Regenerative Agriculture Festival.
      Groundswell is a practical show aimed at anyone who wants to understand the farmer’s core asset, the soil, and make better informed decisions. It is a two-day event featuring talks, forums and discussions from leading international soil health experts, experienced arable and livestock farmers, agricultural policy experts, direct-drill demonstrations and AgTech innovators.
  • Thursday, June 27th

    • Thriplow Farms, David Walston III:
      Thriplow Farms is a 900 hectares farm located just south of Cambridge, UK. We grow a variety of crops such as wheat, oilseed rape, peas, beans, oats, & grass. Techniques like no-till, companion cropping, bi-cropping and mob grazing mean that we are not just trying to farm sustainably – but to actively regenerate the quality and productivity of our soils.
      David Walston is a Nuffield scholar (2015).
    • Claydon Drills:
      We visit the factory as well as Jaff Claydon’s 350-hectare farm. The Claydons have been working with soil health for decades, in cooperation with NIAB, Harper Adams University and others.

    Dinner, drinks and socialicing at The Beeswing Kettering

  • Friday, June 28th

    • Allerton Project:
      The Allerton Project researches the effects of different farming methods on wildlife and the environment, sharing results of our research through advisory and educational activities. This is undertaken on our 320-hectare demonstration farm based in Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
    • NIAB Innovation Farm:
      NIAB Innovation Farm is a pioneering UK knowledge transfer platform, a unique physical showcase of agricultural and horticultural activity with particular focus on plant genetic improvement, delivered in partnership with academics and industry to utilise, develop or produce plant-derived or plant-based materials.

    16.30     Driving back to Stansted Airport  

Continue reading

How regenerative agriculture can solve our problems

Transitioning to regenerative agriculture can help mitigate the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, make work easier for farmers, and provide a more sustainable production system. Continue reading to learn more about the future of sustainable farming

Climate crisis, biodiversity crisis, pollution, CO2 emissions – agriculture is often accused of contributing to these problems, but there is a way for the agricultural sector to be part of the solution and positively contribute to the green transition: regenerative agriculture.

There are many benefits to converting but the complicated thing is that it isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. Converting to regenerative farming is a process that can take several years if you start out as a conventional or organic farmer

“But that shouldn’t discourage farmers,” says Hans Henrik Fredsted, head agronomy advisor at the Denmark-based consulting company Agroganic. “After the conversion, there are many benefits for the farmer, the climate, the environment and for society as a whole.”

The Boston Consulting Group also recently released a report on the potential of regenerative agriculture in Denmark, supporting this statement. In the report, they note that for an average conventional farmer, it could lead to up to a 40% increase in profit after a six-year transition period. Additionally, the report estimates that converting 73% of Danish agricultural land could reduce up to four megatons of CO2 per year, equivalent to 15% of Denmark’s CO2 emissions in 2030.

Regenerative agriculture is a cultivation system based on principles such as minimal soil disturbance, constant ground cover, diverse crops, and minimizing synthetic inputs while incorporating nature’s own biological processes to benefit crop cultivation. Agroganic’s mission is to help make large-scale agriculture regenerative.

Why doesn’t everyone convert today?
If regenerative agriculture has so many benefits, why don’t farmers transition immediately? Firstly, the regenerative movement is not yet on the political agenda in Denmark, even though many other countries have goals for implementation of regenerative agriculture. This means that in Denmark, there is neither help nor financial support available during the transition period if a farmer wants to convert. There is also no certification scheme in place, which would allow for farmers to apply for financial support, or for consumers to know they are choosing regenerative products.

At Agroganic, where they have worked with all types of agriculture for decades, they have no doubt that regenerative farming is the future. “The need for efficient agricultural systems that are robust, high-yielding, and environmentally responsible is greater than ever. If we want to continue farming in the future, we have to change our methods,” says Hans Henrik Fredsted.

There are also those who argue that a subsidy scheme is not necessary because the cultivation system itself is an economic advantage for farmers. There may be some truth to that, but transitioning to regenerative cultivation can be a costly investment and take time, which can result in a decrease in yield and income while the transition is ongoing. Additionally, the transition can be a steep learning curve, where the farmer has to learn a completely new way of farming, become familiar with new machinery, new technology, and new concepts. All of this requires education and assistance, which may not necessarily be readily available.

Providing this help is what Agroganic has set out to do. Agroganic is an agricultural consultancy firm based in Denmark that has been working with regenerative cultivation principles for more than 20 years, and now that the regenerative movement is gaining traction, they are ready to help and educate the farmers who want to take the leap.

Regenerative cultivation methods and benefits
One of the key principles of regenerative cultivation is to practice minimal soil disturbance, which means that the farmer doesn’t plow the field and practices minimal soil disturbance. Soil disturbance damages the soil structure and makes it vulnerable to erosion. When the soil’s pores are destroyed during soil disturbance, it impairs the soil’s ability to both retain water and drain water, leaving crops more vulnerable during periods of drought or heavy rainfall. Soil disturbance also releases CO2 and erodes humus from the soil, reducing soil fertility.

Practicing no-till cultivation increases soil organic matter, protects beneficial organisms, reduces CO2 emissions, and has the potential to improve carbon sequestration. In addition to all the beneficial aspects for soil fertility, the farmer also saves fuel, time, and labor by practicing no-till farming.

Other key approaches include having green fields year-round and cultivating diverse crops. These principles improve soil health and structure, increase the soil’s ability to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, increase biodiversity, and reduce the need for pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

It’s not a magic button but a path to a more sustainable future.

Nutrient Stratification in No-Till Soil. What Can We Do About It?

By Frederik Vilhelm Larsen

When you practice long-term direct seeding, phosphorus and potassium can become concentrated in the top of the soil. This is particularly relevant when combining direct seeding with manure application, where the manure is typically distributed on the soil surface.

Surface application is perfectly fine for nitrogen and sulfur, since both are highly mobile and easily move deeper into the soil. The challenge lies with P and K.

Soil mobility of phosphorous and potassium

The first thing to note is that K moves in sandy soil (i.e., JB4 and below), whereas K behaves much like phosphorus above JB4. This means that K does not move within the soil profile.

Next is phosphorus (P). P does not move within the soil and only diffuses a few millimeters towards the root during plant uptake. In our directly seeded cultivation systems, we hope to recruit mycorrhizal fungi and earthworms to assist with P and K supply.

Earth worms and mycorrhiza impact nutrient availability

We often observe how earthworms can create a fertile topsoil lining along their burrows deep into the soil. Usually, plant roots follow these burrows, intuitively suggesting better P and K uptake where earthworm burrows have facilitated this. Whether mycorrhizal fungi can supply the crop with sufficient P is debated, but we can observe that direct seeding has the potential to provide favorable conditions for them to do their best.

Experiments with deep placement of P and K

In Australia, they have been conducting experiments on nutrient stratification in agricultural soil for many years. This is partly because they have a longer and more widespread tradition of direct seeding, but also because their old soil naturally has low nutrient content. Here, it has been shown that as a rule of thumb, a crop takes up 50% of its P from below 10 cm in the soil.

In the province of Queensland, over a 10-year period, the effect of a series of experiments on deep placement of P and K at a depth of 20-25 cm was investigated. Specifically, this was done as a single crop rotation allocation that could benefit several subsequent crops. P and K were placed at a depth of 25 cm and with either 25 or 50 cm row spacing. The main conclusion from the experiment was increased yields of 10-40%, primarily for spring crops. I would expect winter wheat to have a smaller response to deep placement of P and K because winter wheat can take up more P and K from the surface before the soil dries out during spring and summer.

If one were to experiment with this under Danish conditions, it would be advisable to place 30-50 kg P/ha and 80-100 kg K/ha at a depth of 25 cm when group seeding winter rapeseed in August. This way, subsequent no-till crops can benefit from this depot.

Nutrient stratification in no-till: How to take soil samples

By Frederik Vilhelm Larsen, Crop Consultant, Agroganic

Are you taking your soil samples correctly? It’s winter, and that means time for field planning but also for soil sampling. A common question we often have to address in no-till and reduced tillage agriculture is: how should we handle liming and soil sampling in non-till cultivation systems?

When is stratification an issue?

The term “stratification” means that there can be a concentration difference in the pH and nutrients in a soil profile depending on the depth. For example, if phosphorus is applied to the soil surface, there is more phosphorus available in the topmost centimeters.

It’s usually not a problem if the soil is regularly mixed by harrowing and, if necessary, plowing. If deeper soil tillage is omitted, then stratification can begin. This can be relevant if superficial harrowing (5-8cm) is primarily performed, or direct seeding is practiced.

This is something we can observe in practice. Attached figures (bottom of the article) provide some specific examples. For instance, pH is approximately 0.5 lower in the upper 10cm of the soil profile compared to the next 10cm. Similarly, there is a significant difference in phosphorus levels between the upper and lower samples in our experiment. If only regular soil samples (0-25cm) are taken, it might average out an acute issue in the top centimeters of the soil profile.

What can we use this knowledge for?

First and foremost, we must consider that the sampling depth for soil samples should match our soil cultivation history and strategy. If we don’t till the soil for an extended period and sow directly, we should be prepared to deal with local acidification in the top of the soil. Fortunately, this is not necessarily a problem and can be easily solved by applying small amounts of agricultural lime (e.g., 500-1000kg/ha) every few years to avoid falling behind.

How to deal with phosphorus stratification in plowed and no-till systems

Phosphorus stratification can be worse because phosphorus hardly moves in the soil. It becomes particularly problematic in dry years because as soon as the soil dries out, nutrients cannot move in the soil solution.

In this case, a tentative argument for rotational plowing can be made. Thus, after nutrient stratification (probably taking at least 5 years) in the top centimeters of the soil profile, turning the soil upside down and starting the process anew is possible.

If direct seeding and/or superficial harrowing are practiced, some preventive measures need to be considered. Two specific solutions are possible.

First, in a direct seeding system, work towards applying phosphorus by placing it with the seeder. Never apply on the soil surface through broad spreading. This way, P is moved a few centimeters into the soil where it is closer to the crop’s roots. Similarly, applying manure into the soil would be relevant if practically possible.

Secondly, one can consider a strategy for phosphorus application through foliar feeding directly with flat-spray nozzles on the crop. This way, P can be applied directly on crop leaves, avoiding application on the soil.

Concentration differences after many years of direct seeding show that phosphorus is very immobile in the soil. That is, if there is a risk of phosphorus leaching, it is mainly due to particle runoff from the soil surface (wind/water erosion). This is effectively eliminated by practicing direct seeding.

 

Joining the Green Revolution: Inviting Businesses to Embrace the Regenerative Movement

– How Businesses and Organizations can become regenerative

In an era where an increasing number of companies aspire to take responsibility for their production methods and contribute positively to the environment, regenerative agriculture is the path forward. This paradigm shift is not only relevant for the agricultural sector but for all organizations seeking an active role in the green transition.

Agroganic is Your Partner in Going Regenerative

Is your company currently involved in regenerative agriculture or do you aspire to be? Are you in need of a reliable partner with more than 30 years of experience? At Agroganic, we consider ourselves frontrunners in the regenerative movement, ready to assist in any context within the field.

For farmers, we offer direct assistance with agriculture-related challenges, ranging from getting started with regenerative cultivation methods to comprehending and resolving complex issues within your specific farm system. Our consultants possess extensive expertise in regenerative cultivation and are equipped with the knowledge to guide you effectively.

For companies and organizations, we extend our assistance with tasks of all sizes related to putting regenerative agriculture on the agenda. We develop action plans and provide support from the very first step toward a regenerative path.

 

In-Depth Practical Knowledge

As leaders in the field, our team of consultants have comprehensive knowledge of regenerative cultivation methods and how they can be implemented in your company. Furthermore, our team has in-depth experience with the technology involved, ranging from machinery, drones, and GPS equipment to software and apps.

So, is your company prepared to become an active participant in the regenerative movement? We are ready to assist you in making a positive difference. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your business.

2024 is the year the regenerative movement takes off

“Regenerative agriculture” has been the new buzzword for sustainable cultivation systems throughout 2023, but for the agricultural consultants at Agroganic, it signifies much more than just a buzzword. The principles of sustainable agricultural practices are exactly what Agroganic’s consultants have been working with for decades, and that’s why we have embraced the term. Agroganic aims to be in the forefront of sustainable agriculture, and throughout the past year, we’ve worked intensively to get regenerative agriculture on the agenda for our clients and major corporations. We’ve experienced more interest in regenerative methods than ever before, and 2024 could be the beginning of a new era for regenerative agriculture.

What does regenerative agriculture mean?

You may have heard the term “regenerative agriculture” thrown around, but what does it actually entail? It’s an excellent question because there is no official definition of the which principles that must be followed for a farm to be recognized as regenerative. At Agroganic, we work with four core regenerative principles: 1) Minimal soil disturbance, 2) permanent ground cover, 3) crop diversity, and 4) reduced synthetic input. This means that Agroganic’s regenerative fields are no-till, cultivated with diverse crops, using cover crops that benefit the soil, and minimal use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. All principles are aimed at cultivating the land in the most sustainable way possible. Therefore, we also believe that staying updated on the latest research in sustainable farming methods is an integral part of the regenerative movement.

 

Regenerative is future

At Agroganic, we look forward to an exciting year where we continue to promote the regenerative agenda. Our hope for 2024 is to bring more of the industry together and create projects across companies, farmers, and organizations to ensure that the regenerative movement truly takes hold.

If you are a farmer, organization, or company wanting to join the regenerative agenda, contact Agroganic today to learn more about how we can help you get started.

Choosing the Right Seed Drill for No-Till Farming

A Guide to Successful Regenerative Agriculture

No-till farming is a key principle in conservation agriculture and regenerative farming, and choosing the right seeder plays a crucial role in establishing a successful crop. As the saying goes, “Well begun is half done,” and this holds particularly true when it comes to establishing a robust crop. Achieving a uniform, healthy, and dense crop sets the foundation for a successful harvest. But what should one consider when choosing a seeder for no-till farming? This article tells you everything you need to know to make an informed decision and choose the right seeder for direct seeding.

The Difference Between No-Till Seeders and Traditional Seeders

No-till seeders must be able to handle the residues of the previous season, making them more robust. They are designed to navigate and cut through large amounts of crop residues in the field. In comparison to traditional seeders, no-till seeders usually have greater spacing between teeth or discs to allow crop residues to pass through the machine without clogging. Additionally, the seeding blades are often more expensive per unit, resulting in fewer seeding units but a greater, albeit more economically spaced, row distance. Standard seeders typically have a row spacing of about 12.5-15 cm, while direct seeders range from 16.5-25 cm.

Another significant difference is that when the soil is not plowed and homogenized before seeding, the ground can be harder in some areas than others. Therefore, direct disc seeders need a higher cutting pressure to maintain a consistent seeding depth. A traditional seeder may struggle to work in non-homogenized soil, leading to uneven seeding depths and gaps in the crop.

Disk or Tine Seeder – Which Is Better?

The first major decision is whether to choose a disc or tine seeder. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, but the choice ultimately depends on your farm.

Disc seeders are often more precise in seeding depth and can handle catch crops and large amounts of straw. However, they are generally more expensive to invest in, and adjusting the drill pressure requires more effort from the farmer. Moreover, disc seeders tend to create ‘hairpinning,’ where crop residues are pressed into the seed furrow, potentially disrupting seed contact with the soil. In wet clay soil, disc seeders can also cause side-wall-smearing of the seed furrow, leading to compaction that may negatively affect root development in the early weeks of crop germination.

Tine seeders, on the other hand, are usually cheaper and simpler. They do not cause hairpinning and have a lower risk of side-wall-smearing and compaction. However, they are typically less precise in seeding depth, potentially resulting in a less uniform establishment. They also cause more soil disturbance and have more difficulty with handling crop residues in the field.

Which One Should You Choose?

Agroganic has conducted numerous seeding demonstrations to answer this question. Our demonstrations show that, in most cases, tine seeders produce the best results, and due to their lower cost, they are the optimal choice. Especially for wet or clayey soil with low humus content, a tine seeder is the most suitable choice. If the soil is humus-rich and easy to work with, opting for a disc seeder may be a good decision. For very sandy soil, both types are a safe choice, and the decision can be based on personal preferences.

Can’t I Use the Seeder I Already Have?

Yes, you can—in some cases. If you are new to no-till and want to try out the cultivation system before investing in expensive seeders, you can use your regular Horsch Pronto or Väderstad Rapid for direct seeding. It does require a certain amount of patience, though.

Are you considering transitioning to no-till cultivation and need guidance on your investments? Contact Agroganic today to learn more about how we can help you and your agribusiness

 

Why Does Regenerative Agriculture Support the Use of Glyphosate?

The EU Commission has renewed the approval of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) for 10 years, sparking outrage among activists and environmental organizations. However, do you know the environmental consequences of the alternatives?

At Agroganic, we are happy about the decision to renew the approval of glyphosate. Some may argue that of course we are, since we are an agricultural company, but it goes deeper than that. We also value nature, biodiversity, and sustainability. If you find these perspectives contradictory, read on.

Let’s talk about the alternatives

We all want food on the table and that requires cultivating the land, including weed control in one way or another. If glyphosate is banned, there is only one alternative: mechanical soil disturbance.

Why not choose a gentler chemical alternative? Because it doesn’t exist. Roundup is the most widely used herbicide globally because it is the most tested, mild, and effective product available. It is the only broad-spectrum herbicide approved in the EU. In other parts of the world, paraquat and glufosinate are used as broad-spectrum herbicides, but they are not allowed in the EU due to their greater toxicity and environmental consequences.

If we are banned from using chemicals, the only other option is to do mechanical weed control by plowing and harrowing. The problem with this is that soil disturbance has negative consequences for the climate, soil health, and biodiversity. Plowing is inherently a total habitat demolition, destroying the living-conditions not only for weeds but also for insects, fungi, earthworms, ground-nesting bird species, and other soil-dwelling organisms. Since glyphosate only works on green plants, it is a much gentler method that affects fewer non-target organisms.

Glyphosate is the path to fewer pesticides

That’s why, at Agroganic, we believe that no-till, regenerative farming practices are part of the future of sustainable agriculture – and that includes glyphosate. Glyphosate allows us to grow our crops in more environmentally friendly ways. Those practicing regenerative agriculture at large-scale would have to shift to less sustainable methods with more pesticides if glyphosate were banned.

In regenerative cultivation, we use principles that allow us to largely avoid spraying. For example, by not tilling the soil, many beneficial insects can thrive and help control pests. This means that many regenerative farmers use much less pesticides – or none at all – compared to their conventional counterparts.

Moreover, a key element of regenerative cultivation is the use of cover crops that add nutrients to the soil, improve soil structure, and reduce leaching. However, these cover crops typically need to be destroyed with glyphosate in the spring to sow the main crop.

The amount of weed control needed in regenerative systems is typically less than in conventional and organic farming. This is because when there is no plowing, the soil seed bank is not disturbed, resulting in fewer germinating weeds. Through targeted weed control with glyphosate and without plowing, the weed seed bank in the soil will decrease over time, reducing the need for glyphosate spraying.

Regenerative agriculture is the future

The debate surrounding glyphosate is sparked by a desire for a more environmentally friendly world and a more sustainable agricultural sector. At Agroganic, we believe that a no-till, regenerative approach is the path to a more sustainable future that also accommodates nature—and that includes glyphosate for now. When transitioning to no-till cultivation, the farmer is reliant on glyphosate for weed control to successfully establish the new cultivation system.

That’s why we consider glyphosate the gentlest alternative, and we welcome the EU Commission’s decision to extend its use. If you are curious to learn more about no-till and regenerative agriculture, contact Agroganic today to find out how we can help. Read more about the Agroganic’s definition of regenerative agriculture here: https://agroganic.com/regenerative-agriculture/

How Soil Fertility Impacts Productivity

Soil fertility is the foundation for a healthy and productive crop. A fertile soil is characterized by being able to provide crops with the necessary nutrients and maintain proper drainage and water retention. Understanding how to cultivate a fertile soil is essential for a productive crop. In this article, we’ll delve into the ways in which soil fertility influences the yield and quality of crops and the importance of a well-thought-out soil management with regenerative farming practices.

The Role of Soil Fertility in Crop Productivity:

Soil fertility is primarily about the availability of essential nutrients. Healthy, fertile soil contains a balanced supply of macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and micronutrients (like iron, zinc, and copper). These nutrients are vital for plant growth, as they influence everything from root development to photosynthesis. Fertile soils also provide plants with the nutrients they need to grow and resist diseases and pests. When soil is lacking in essential nutrients, plants become stressed and are more susceptible to a range of issues, leading to reduced productivity. Fertile soil also results in higher crop yields and better-quality produce. Plants grown in nutrient-rich soil are more likely to produce larger, healthier fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Soil Management to Improve Soil Fertility:

In addition to a soil’s inherent qualities, like sand and clay content, how you manage your soil and which farming strategies you use are the key to long-term fertile soils. Conventional farming practices such as plowing can deplete the soil of carbon, and leaving the soil bare for long periods of time can cause leaching of valuable nutrients like nitrogen. How you manage your soil is highly important in ensuring soil fertility but if you adhere to regenerative farming practices, you can build up your soil’s fertility over time.

Minimal soil disturbance: Soil structure is an important and often overlooked aspect of soil fertility. A soil with a good porous crumb structure will be able to retain water for longer periods of time, which is beneficial during the more frequent droughts many farmers are currently experiencing. At the same time, a porous soil isn’t prone to waterlogging and will be able to drain off the excess water during periods with intense precipitation. Switching to no-till practices allows earthworms and microorganisms to build up the soil structure with micro and macro pores.

Crop Rotation: Another key strategy for maintaining soil fertility is crop rotation. By alternating crops, you can prevent the depletion of specific nutrients from the soil and utilize different areas of the soil profile. Different crops have varying nutrient demands, so crop rotation helps to maintain a balanced nutrient profile as well as being a key strategy to breaking pest cycles.

Cover Crops: Planting cover crops and keeping the soil covered after harvesting the cash crop can help improve the soil fertility by catching excess nutrients in the soil and making them available for the following year’s cash crop. Additionally, legume cover crops can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Cover crops can also help build soil organic matter since having growing crops in the soil year-round can allow the Liquid Carbon Pathway to occur.

Organic Matter: Organic matter, such as compost, manure or straw, is a valuable addition to soil. It improves soil structure, moisture retention, and provides a slow-release source of nutrients. Regularly adding organic matter to the soil is essential for long-term fertility.

Improve soil microbial life: Soil microbes drive a myriad of beneficial processes that are essential for a healthy soil. Increased microbial activity leads to higher nutrient availability as well as nutrient retention in the soil. Additionally, incorporating practices that encourage abundance and diversity of soil microbes improves soil aggregation, water penetration, and water retention and decreases soil erosion.

In Conclusion:

Soil fertility is the cornerstone of agricultural productivity, influencing everything from plant growth to disease resistance. It’s not just about nutrients but a delicate balance that requires thoughtful management.

Regenerative farming practices like no-till farming, crop rotation, and cover crops play crucial roles in maintaining fertile soil. These methods prevent nutrient depletion, enhance water retention, and contribute to the overall health of the soil. Prioritizing sustainable soil management practices ensures our soils remain fertile, paving the way for consistently productive crops.

 

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