These are some questions I was asked by a farmer in the Tsitsikamma the other day about legumes and root nodules.
Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil provide an opportunity for farmers to tap into the huge amounts of nitrogen which are just sitting in the atmosphere, waiting to be unlocked.
The amazing thing is that all these ecosystem services support greater agricultural production. They can only be unlocked when the soil is viewed as a valuable natural resource that needs to be conserved.
Taking all this into account, methane is a huge problem. But is it? Recent research has challenged whether methane should be treated in the same manner as carbon dioxide when it comes to its impact on climate change.
I would challenge any farmer that desires to improve their farm to think about the “why” behind the regenerative agriculture approach. What is the prize?
Often farmers treat the farm as a whole and that is completely wrong. Fields within a few meters from each other can have completely different characteristics, especially with regards to soil biology.
Oxygen is one of the overlooked but most important requirements for microbial and root development. In fact, I’d even posit that it is more important than food, water, and warmth.
Nothing should ever be viewed as “waste” on the farm. Organic waste can be converted into compost that helps improve the farms soil life and fertility.
To a large extent, these threats are caused by conventional agriculture. This is what makes the regenerative approach to soil management so important.
Keeping the soil covered is important for soil conservation. The abundance and diversity of food for soil organisms is what determines a soil’s natural productivity.