The relationship between plants and water is delicate. Too little water can lead to plant stress, resulting in wilting. Too much can lead to risk of pathogen infection and loss of nutrients supporting the plant via leaching.
Rebecca Burgess, founder of the Fibershed project says that, “our soils have a carbon debt; the atmosphere is gushing with carbon. The carbon over our heads is literally in the wrong place” and this couldn’t be truer.
True sustainable, regenerative agriculture will reverse the negative impact of conventional agriculture and result in sustainable food production.
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.
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.