Lower production costs
Colin Seis has reduced his production costs by 75%. 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.
At Hill Top Farm, we're combining Holistic Planned Grazing with silvopasture using mainly legume trees.
We see the benefits, particularly in the dry season. Our grass is more productive. The legume trees provide forage and fodder, and extra bonuses bagged fertilisers can’t supply...
Hydroponic growers, Graham and Fiona Grant have stopped spraying synthetic pesticides twice a week.
Instead they use trays of sacrificial crops in their production 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.
How do we do it?
Using a new ecological approach to regenerative agriculture
Looking closely at the science behind successful practices used by leading farmers around the world, the message for growers is actually quite simple – repair the ecological functions in your production systems. Your nutrient and water cycle, solar energy capture, and functional biodiversity to use these resources efficiently.
We then benefit from the FREE ecological services Nature provides.
Organic matter, soil carbon and biodiversity are important intermediary measures, 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 still degraded because they lack functional nutrient recycling systems and soil structures 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. Production costs are reduced without sacrificing yields. In fact, quite the opposite. As soil scientists Christine Jones and Elaine Ingham state, it is not that nutrients are lacking in our soil, what is lacking is the biology to make these nutrients available.
Having a reliable pathway to follow
Search for resources on regenerative farming and you mostly find a list of practices. Some may be new to you – Holistic Planned Grazing, cover crops, pasture cropping, agroforestry. Others, you will probably already be familiar with – no-till, crop rotation, composting, green manure and bio fertilisers. They are established farming methods.
This Handbook uses a different approach.
Rather than having to follow prescribed recipes or off-the-shelf solutions, you'll choose the best tools and techniques for your growing conditions and production systems by understanding the eco-logic of what you need to do.
The Handbook is easy to use, but don't be deceived by its simplicity. A lot of expertise has gone into developing it. From researchers, traditional farming practices, contemporary farmer-led innovation, and on-farm practical experience.
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.