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Regenerative agriculture: how organic fertilizers are supporting soil restoration

Discover how organic fertilizers aid in soil restoration by enhancing nutrient levels, fostering biodiversity, and mitigating soil degradation.

By News Desk
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Soil in Hand

Soil in Hand, Image Source: Maxbelchenko

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Our planet is in peril. Multiple factors, including farming and agriculture, are contributing to climate change. The release of greenhouse gas emissions is a serious topic, making it fundamental for everyone to sit up, take notice, and take action. But where do we start?

Well, for those involved in agriculture, the answer lies in implementing regenerative agricultural practices. This is an excellent starting point to help ensure our Earth will be able to feed us and remain the home of future generations.

But what is regenerative agriculture? What role does soil play in the overall ecosystem? And is there a way in which farmers can help? These are some of the questions we explore the answers to in this article, so keep reading to learn more.

Understanding Regenerative Agriculture

Understanding regenerative agriculture means going back in time to when indigenous people worked the land and livestock in sustainable ways. With technology and new developments constantly being developed in the world of modern agriculture, indigenous farming practices have become forgotten and are used less and less.

But it’s important to return to the original state of farming if we want to help our Earth thrive. This is where regenerative agriculture steps in.

In short, it is a way of holistically considering the agricultural ecosystem and the interplay between all the different organisms in it to ensure sustainability for all. It’s about implementing sustainable farming practices that take cognisance of plants, animals, the soil, water, air, sun, and climate (among others). And it’s also about how they all work together to ensure that we have sufficient, healthy, and wholesome food on our plates day in and day out.

Therefore, regenerative agriculture is both a philosophy and a method of farming that applies ethical, green, and environmentally-conscious agricultural practices for the health of our planet and everyone in it — that includes current and future generations.

The Role of Soil in Regenerative Agriculture

You probably haven’t given the topic of soil much thought, thinking it is best left to pedologists, or the people who study the subject in depth. However, this below-the-ground mass is absolutely fascinating because it is a massive living organism.

That’s right, soil breathes. It is also the home of many micro and macro organisms. It contains nutrients that plants absorb and which end up on our plates. With critical health and environmental implications, it’s essential to consider soil health to ensure we stay healthy and our planet is used sustainably.

But is regenerative agriculture expensive? The answer is that it doesn’t have to be. In fact, what many modern farmers may not know just yet is that by practicing regenerative agriculture practices, they can earn more by:

  • Improving yields (even during droughts)

  • Improving quality

  • Reducing production costs (such as irrigation costs)

All this is possible by focusing on soil health and encouraging biodiversity.

Having healthier plants and crops also leads to more nutrient-dense foods and longer shelf lives, food that looks and tastes better, lower equipment, labor, and fuel costs (operational and input costs), and a whole lot more.

However, challenges such as soil erosion, desertification, loss of arable land, and more are serious issues that we need to face. Many experts encourage following regenerative agricultural practices (or a combination of them) to address these issues, including by:

  • Not disturbing the soil: This means limiting plowing or tilling because this will upset the complex network of worm-holes, fungal hyphae, and the microscopic air pockets created by soil particles.

  • Keeping the soil surface covered: This can be achieved by planting crops or stubble residues to lessen the impact of rain drops, sun rays, or frost, which can all be harmful to soil health and its ecosystems.

  • Keeping living roots in the soil: The domino effect of keeping living roots in the soil means that good bacteria, fungi, arthropods and other creatures will thrive, and these help most plans stay nourished.

  • Growing a diverse range of crops and plants: Variety is the spice of life and nowhere is this more prevalent than in agriculture. It’s taken for granted that monocultures don’t happen in nature. That’s why soil needs variety to thrive. Consider strategies such as companion cropping and cover cropping for best results.

  • Returning grazing animals to feast on your land: Do you want to supercharge the impact on your soil? In this case, it’s a good idea to bring animals back to grazing on your land because they bring a wealth of diversity to the soil’s ecosystem.

How Fertilizers Support Soil Restoration

The right fertilizers for your soil can help support your soil restoration efforts because it’s not always possible to implement some or all of the regenerative agriculture practices mentioned above. 

Take a look at just some of the ways in which the right (think organic and non-chemical as opposed to synthetic and chemical) fertilizers can help you achieve excellent soil health:

  • Enhance soil structure

  • Increase water retention

  • Provide essential nutrients

  • Promote beneficial microbial activity

  • Contribute to long-term soil health and sustainability

  • Improve plant growth

  • Boost overall soil quality

  • And much more

Types of Fertilizers Used in Regenerative Agriculture

While there are many types of fertilizers used in agriculture, regenerative agricultural practices encourage the use of organic fertilizers.

They boast not only eco-friendliness and better water distribution, but also offer versatile use and are cost-effective. With gradual nutrient release, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other key nutrients, you can enjoy greater and improved plant resilience and overall harvest health.

So, whether it’s universal lawn food that you’re looking for or a fertilizer that is anti-transpirant and acts as healthy and nutritious plant food, there’s something for every need. The most important takeaway is to apply these organic fertilizers along your other combination of regenerative agriculture practices for best results.

Conclusion

Regenerative agriculture is a key part of ensuring a sustainable world for everyone to live in — now and in the future. What’s more, it’s essential to our daily nutrient intake and overall health and well-being. Yet, following all of the regenerative agricultural practices can be challenging.

This is where organic fertilizers can play a critical role in restoring your soil health and supplementing your efforts. All this while creating healthy ecosystems where your crops, plants, and animals can thrive while doing good for our planet at the same time.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed within the content are solely the authors. Does not constitute advice.

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