August 1, 2023

Regenerative Agriculture 101: A Healthy Environment is Built from the Ground Up

‍First in a series defining commonly used concepts and phrases relating to modern agriculture.

Strained by growing populations, shrinking farms and climate challenges, the world must embrace a modernized agricultural system in order to improve productivity amidst the challenges. Traditional farming methods, such as monocropping (planting fields with the same crop year after year) have proven unproductive. This method decreases plant and insect biodiversity as well as soil health. Use of dated chemicals in excess has also caused problems with leaching and harm to biodiversity.

Enko encourages regenerative agricultural practices in order to boost ecological, social, and economic health. Regenerative agriculture is a pre-industrial land management technique that was originally implemented by Indigenous communities. It is primarily focused on healthy soil practices that benefit the entire ecosystem, proving that a healthy environment is built from the ground up. Below are some of the main techniques that are used in regenerative ag.

  1. No-till farming - Farmers leave decomposing plant material from previous harvests on the soil rather than tilling the soil for the next planting. Tilling breaks apart the soil and releases CO2 into the atmosphere, whereas non-tilled soil holds the carbon within. No-till soils are better able to hold moisture and nutrients, enabling beneficial microbes and organic matter to remain in the soil to improve the next year’s crop. Herbicides can replace tilling to control weeds in a system that improves overall soil health while sequestering carbon for the health of the planet.
  1. Crop  diversification - Multiple types of crops are grown at the same time in the same field. This is highly important for nutrient recycling, soil     quality, and pollinator health. Pollinators are critical for our food supply and are healthiest and happiest when there is an array of plants to visit.
  1. Cover  cropping - A farming practice that maintains roots in the soil all year round. This means that plants are grown even during the off-season in order to prevent     soil erosion while also increasing the soil’s fertility and water retention capacity.  
  1. Rotational  grazing - Creates a symbiotic relationship between plants and animals. Within this technique, cattle graze a paddock, deposit their manure, and are then  frequently moved in order to prevent soil erosion and overgrazing which can deplete paddocks of important grasses. These paddocks are given a  sufficient amount of time to regenerate before they are grazed again, which allows them to grow back stronger and more nutrient-rich than they were before.
  1. Decreasing  soil disturbance means that heavy equipment is used sparingly or only on specific tracks, in order to keep root systems intact and to keep the     important living beings in the soil alive.

40 percent of crops grown today are negatively impacted by fungus, insects, and weeds. Using regenerative techniques in concert with targeted applications of pesticides using traditional equipment, drones, and/or smart tractors, is one way to help agriculture fully maximize yields while maintaining ecologically sound practices.

Enko’s pesticides and herbicides are prescreened using AI techniques to ensure that they will specifically target the weed or pest without harming beneficials and the surrounding environment. This interconnected system is the healthiest and most efficient way to provide enough food for the planet.

M.B.

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