We've had two excellent online talks in recent weeks on the subject of Regenerative Agriculture, one from Rebecca Hosking from South Devon and one from Tim Parton in Staffordshire. Rebecca talked about the subject from the perspective of the small farmer, and Tim from the viewpoint of a large commercial farmer. Both showed that the principles apply in any situation:
- Farming in the context of each specific place - your own land is unique, with its own needs, advantages and disadvantages. Understanding and following the 'grain' of what your land can and can't do, is a key step to a sustainable and happy farming life!
- Respecting the soil - you can't be too obsessive about your soil! It's the living, breathing foundation of everything you do, and is affected hugely by farming practice.
- Working with the biology of farmland, not against it - Tim showed that even at a big scale, you can reduce the need for artificial fertilisers and pesticides almost to zero if you use cover crops, herbal leys, careful timing of grazing, biological controls and other rmeasures. It's not about going organic - it's simply about working wisely to use what nature offers.
- Mimicking nature can work wonders: mob grazing, which simulates the way wild herbivores move across large landscapes, can promote deep roots, better soils and better nutrition
We want to do more to explore this subject realistically and practically in the Blackdowns, through farm visits and highlighting good practice. Do you have good examples to share? Where are these practices working well and where are the problems and challenges?
Please let us know your thoughts and examples!