Using regenerative agriculture, we reduce fertiliser and other input costs, crop losses from pests, diseases and extreme weather, take carbon out of the atmosphere, and have the joy of bringing Nature back to our farms.
The challenge has been - how to do it.
There are so many different schemes coming under the regenerative agriculture umbrella - Climate-Smart Agriculture, Conservation Agriculture, Evergreen Agriculture, Agricology, Agroecology, Ecological farming, Natural farming, Zero Input Farming - that it is confusing.
Search for practical resources, and you’ll usually find lists of off-the-shelf practices, like cover cropping, no-till and bio-fertilisers, rather than an explanation of what we need to regenerate.
The Eco-logical Farming Handbook is different.
By identifying the ecological principles that underpin regenerative practices used around the world, the message is actually quite simple - get the ecological functions in your production systems operating again. Particularly, your nutrient cycles, water cycles, solar energy capture, and functional biodiversity.
What does this mean for you?
Understanding the eco-logical principles, you confidently develop the best regenerative practices for your climate, other growing conditions, and production systems, as well as markets, finances, family and lifestyle. Links to videos, showing the experiences of leading farmers, and a comprehensive tools inventory are provided to help you.
Bringing back these FREE ecological services to your farm you:
- Grow nutritious and chemical-free food
- Boost production in good times
- Reduce set-backs when the weather plays up
- Give insect pests a smaller share of your produce.
- Develop opportunities to grow additional products within your production systems
And what’s more, you'll supply vital ecosystem services – biodiversity, carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, and reduced fertiliser, pesticide and sediment runoff. Not because you have been lucky enough to receive a grant or incentive payment (although these are always useful) – because these services are supplied naturally as by-products from repairing the ecological infrastructure on our farms.
Does this sound too good to be true?
As you will see from the research and farmer-led innovation in the Handbook - there is plenty of evidence demonstrating the benefits of using this eco-logical approach to regenerative agriculture.
Are you ready to try this easier way to grow?
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Why this eco-logical approach to regenerative agriculture makes sense
Lower production costs
Colin Seis has reduced his production costs by 75% by getting his nutrient cycling system functioning again. He uses 70% less fertiliser on crops and hasn’t fertilised his pasture for over 30 years. Yet his soil tests show increases in major and micro plant nutrient availability.
We're improving the water cycle on our farm by combining Holistic Planned Grazing with Silvopasture.
See the benefits in our dry season. Our pasture is more productive, and the legume trees provide extra forage, and bonuses bagged fertilisers can’t supply.
Hydroponic growers, Graham and Fiona Grant used to spray synthetic pesticides twice a week.
Instead they have created functional biodiversity. They use trays of 'sacrificial' crops in their growing sheds, and are working towards maintaining populations of beneficial insects by providing suitable food plants and habitat. Organic pest controls are used as a back-up.
Benefit from the FREE ecological services Nature provides
By looking closely at the ecological principles that underpin successful regenerative practices used around the world, the message for farmers and other food growers is actually quite simple - get the ecological functions in your production systems operating again.
Particularly, your nutrient cycles, water cycles, solar energy capture, and functional biodiversity.
Organic matter, soil carbon, water infiltration into the soil, and biodiversity are important metrics, but we need to get our agro-ecosystems ‘tuned up’ and running for these to improve.
Most soils, for example, don’t show the customary indicators of soil degradation – salinity, erosion and compaction. But are degraded because they lack functional nutrient recycling systems and soil structural engineers building soil promoting root growth and healthy soil ecosystems. Working with dysfunctional soils has become the norm.
When farmers get their soil ecosystems functioning again, soil tests show increased plant nutrient availability. Farmers use less or zero inputs of fertilisers. Costs of production go down, without sacrificing yields - quite the opposite. As soil scientists state, it is not that nutrients are lacking in our soil, what is lacking is the biology to make these nutrients available.
A reliable pathway to follow
You will understand and then tackle your critical issues using the eco-logical principles to develop solutions that work well for you.
Established regenerative practices then become the source and inspiration for your ideas, rather than recipes to follow.
Trialing different techniques, sharing and learning with your neighbours, you'll take giant steps forward, rather than finding yourself backing off each time the recipes don’t work well for you.
Farmer-led innovation at it’s best!
Nature contributes innovation and technology
While sectors in agribusiness promote agri-tech like genetically modified crops to reduce pest and disease problems and precision agriculture to reduce soil compaction, farmers restoring the ecological operations in their production systems make the real technological advances in farming.
They use the expertise Nature has developed over 3 billion years to create agro-ecosystems that are easy to maintain and highly productive - using the energy and resources they have available. Which are resilient and bounce back from impacts of extreme weather events.
Everything we want for our farms.
Leave your tractor in the shed. Give the job of making good soil structure to the experts – your soil organisms.
Save money on commercial pest controls with a team of technologically advanced, highly motivated insect and bird pest controllers.
Give soil organisms the job of managing your fertiliser regime.
Sustainably intensify your production by growing more with extra solar panels.
"This beautifully produced book presents really practical ‘hands-on’ information for farmers wishing to improve both the overall productivity and the sustainability of their land.
Dr Seabrook draws on the experiences of farmers around the world and her own at Hill Top Farm in tropical Australia, where she is transforming degraded land into fertile pastures and multi-layered production systems. The effects are dramatic.
She emphasises the need for individual farmers to think about what they want to accomplish, and then use eco-logical principles to achieve it.
The Handbook shows us how to work with nature to improve soil fertility, minimise pests and diseases, reduce the impacts of drought and so to maximise production - all this, without reliance on expensive agrichemicals.
This farmer-friendly, wildlife-friendly, and climate-friendly approach is applicable around the globe from resource-poor smallholders to large-scale enterprises."
Prof Roger Leakey, Vice President of International Tree Foundation, former Professor of Agroecology and Sustainable Development at JCU Cairns, and former Director of Research at The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).
"The great thing about the Handbook - we are on a journey and understand where we want to go."
Martin Lines, UK Chair, Nature Friendly Farming Network.