Here we see wheat being harvested using low-till agriculture, also known as conservation-till or reduced-till.
Under this method, farmers leave at least 30% of crop residue on the soil surface. This greatly reduces soil erosion, keeps carbon locked in the ground, and retains more of the microorganisms that build healthier soil.
Keeping the ground covered year-round
Continuous ground cover enhances the soil and reduces the need for weed control products.
Intercropping of soybean and wheat, for example, keeps plants in the ground year-round.
Integration of livestock — such as cattle grazing on alfalfa between rows of soybeans — promotes soil aeration and fertility, through grazing and the addition of manure.
Alfalfa also acts as a cover crop, sequestering carbon, fixing nitrogen in the soil and reducing the need for weed control.
Clean water sources
Clean water is essential for livestock on the farm. Ground water sources include ponds, lakes, streams and creeks.
Wells, springs, and community water supplies can also provide water for animal troughs.
Field margins and hedgerows provide attractive habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects necessary for healthy crops — such as wild bees, hover flies, ladybugs and green lacewings.
The margins also act as barriers to windborne pests.
Keeping the land covered with the canopies of hedgerows, trees and cover crops, is not only important for wildlife and pollinators but also helps farmers reduce the erosive impact that direct rainfall can have on soil.
A crop-monitoring drone flies over fields to detect areas under pressure from weeds, disease or insects.
Scanning the field enables farmers to precisely apply biological and chemical inputs — using no more and no less than required.
Switching from conventional to regenerative agriculture farming practices is no easy task.
Growers require trusted technical advice, must invest in different machinery, and need local policies and incentives that ensure a return on their investments of time and money.