The Core Principles of Regenerative Agriculture

Soil health is one of the main focuses that Regenerative Agriculture principles aim to enhance. Why soil health? Regenerative approaches create diverse microbiological communities within the soil, which are supported by the ideal subterranean environment the farming system provides. These soil microbes in turn, are able to improve the overall soil function, deliver essential nutrients to plants and potentially improve the nutritional value of the produce. The following identifies the underlying principles of a Regenerative Agriculture system.

Incorporate Livestock Where Possible

Often overlooked and undervalued within an arable rotation. Grazing livestock provides an opportunity as a tool that can both increase ecological function whilst potentially providing financial returns if managed correctly. It is essential to consider the following to maximise the potential of the livestock within the system;

  • When to graze? Timing is key. Understanding when to start/stop grazing is very important.
  • How much to graze? Grazing intensity. This refers to the volume of forage removed from the crop.
  • How often? Understanding the grazing frequency allows time for the crop to recover if this is the aim. Obviously if grazing to terminate, this is less important.
  • How long? Overgrazing is a result of time and not intensity. It can rapidly reverse the benefit that the livestock have created.

Integrating livestock does not necessarily involve purchasing and managing a flock/herd of stock if that is not of interest to the farmer. This has created an opportunity for contract graziers to collaborate with arable farmers.

Successful grazing within a regenerative system can bring benefits such as increased organic manure and nutrient cycling. It is also an effective measure in terminating some cover crops, or at least controlling the level of biomass pre-cash crop.

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