Regenerative agriculture may be the answer to degrading soil conditions

Image by Felix Mittermeier/Pixabay

The use of heavy machinery and the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase production have become the cause of soil loss and degradation. Furthermore, disturbing the soil from intensive tillage releases stored carbon dioxide as a greenhouse air in the atmosphere.

As a result of soil erosion and degradation, landslides and flooding are becoming more frequent and intense. There is a need for regenerative agriculture to address these environmental issues.

Regenerative agriculture emphasizes the importance of soil in agriculture. Soil is an essential component of agriculture. It is the source of plant nutrients and a habitat for many microorganisms. It is also a part of the ecosystem for water drainage plant propagation. 

Regenerative agriculture involves minimizing soil tillage to keep the carbon dioxide in the soil. Not only does minimal tillage reduce carbon dioxide emission, it also provides a stable environment for the growth of fungi and insects. Additionally, regenerative agriculture also suggests planting different types of crops should also be planted to improve biodiversity.

In animal production, the use of animal manure as compost helps in the nutrient cycling of soil. However, animals should not be grazed in one spot continuously. Regenerative agriculture recommends grazing animals in different pastures from time to time.

By improving the soil and reducing erosion, regenerative farming increases the yield of crops. A report from the International Union of Nature and the United Nations shows a potential increase from 13% to 40% by 2040 if regenerative farming is practiced in Africa. 

Regenerative agriculture can also help decrease greenhouse carbon dioxide gases by making large agricultural land into carbon sinks. Adopting regenerative agriculture could also lower greenhouse emissions by 6% in 2030.

Regenerative agriculture will make the land more resilient and pest resistant because of increased biodiversity. Resilient crops will require fewer agricultural inputs, eventually resulting in improved yield and income for farmers.

Regenerative farming is becoming popular globally. In fact, the Australian government pays regenerative farmer Neil Olsen to sequester soil carbon. Olsen developed a farming system wherein cover crops, grazing plants, and cash crops are planted in strips with minimal soil disturbance. The farming system increases soil organic matter and builds crop resilience because of the diversified cropping.

Cotton farmers in Brazil increased their cotton yield by integrating several other crops like sesame, pumpkin, and corn. They also started using organic fertilizers to replace conventional chemical fertilizers. Not only does cotton production increase in yield but also their companion crops. 


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