Farming is no longer about sustainability ... it’s about regeneration

Farming practices must change. It’s no longer about sustainability, it’s about regeneration.

Our soils are dead. Increased use of pesticides and chemicals has killed off all the beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

Apparently there are about 3,000 insect pests in the world that eat crops and harm livestock. For each one of these pests there are around 3,000 beneficial insects.

Spraying wipes out the whole insect community. Billions of pounds are spent every year to combat pests but unfortunately the bad bugs develop resistance to the poison, creating super pests.

Ploughing seems a harmless activity but nothing in nature repeatedly and regularly turns over the soil to the specified plow depth of 15-20cm. Therefore, neither plants nor soil organisms have evolved or adapted to this drastic perturbation.


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Heavy machinery compacts the soil even more, requiring deeper plowing to loosen the soil.

As greater volumes of soil are churned up and exposed to the air, the soil carbon meets oxygen combines with it to form CO2 and departs for the upper atmosphere.

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Animal husbandry also upset the carbon balance. Before domestication animals roamed the land eating the tops of grasses and other plants and at the same time depositing loads of enriching manure.

We now have fenced off herds that graze right down to bare ground. This has halted the biological process that had created stores of carbon in the first place.

Soils rich in carbon buffer against both drought and flood. When there is rainfall the soil absorbs and holds water instead of letting it puddle and run off.

Healthy soil is also rich in tiny organisms, a billion in a teaspoon – that can disarm toxins and pollutants that soak into the soil through the rain.

No other natural process steadily removes such vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as photosynthesis and no human scheme to remove it can do so on a vast scale with any guarantee of safety or without great expense.

KATE TRAVERS

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