How to get started with Regenerative Agriculture

People often ask us how to get started in regenerative agriculture. Here are our seven rules:-

  1. Do not overthink it! Keep it Simple.
  2. Find a paddock that you wish to improve.
  3. Get a seed mix for the paddock.
  4. Plant the seed
  5. Watch it grow and learn…
  6. Talk to people about what you are seeing when plants are growing:- learn and layer in more facets of our Soil Health section.
  7. Start again.

Keep it Simple

Do not try to understand everything before you start. You do not have to! It is you that needs to learn, do not get a consultant to do everything for you. Own it and make a mindset change that you are just going to do it!

Do not stress about failing when you first learnt to walk you fell over a lot that is how you learn. This said the chances are it will not fail.

Change your mindset and move from yield to understanding that diversity is going to improve the life in your soil and when you plant something do not expect it to be all there in 100 days, be prepared to expand your timeframe if you want your business to be resilient.

Learn to understand that if you plant diversity the biology in the soil will choose the best seeds to grow and correct the imbalances the best it can without you trying to control the outcome. Stop your urge to control!

Find a paddock you wish to improve

Not your worst paddock and not your best. Understand that if your farm is say ten hectares you are likely to wish to start with 1 or 2 hectares so that you still have the rest of your farm to manage your animals. The paddock you plant you will need to leave animals off it for as long as you can 80 to 140 days depending on the mix if you wish to get the best out of it.

Get a seed mix for the paddock. There are two types:-

  1. Set up mixes (full of annual species) that will correct your resource concerns.
  2. Set up mixes with perennial species

Get in contact with to help you get a seed mix, they will help you through the pitfalls of which species to choose. Again do not overthink it. So if you have a soil test great but if not do not rush out to get one. Keep your money do not send it to town.

Plant the seed mix

Spray the paddock with 1 to 2 litres per hectare of glyphosate, 10 litres of fish per hectare and 1 fulvic acid per hectare with a 100 litre water rate. You are spraying to remove or check the grass to give what you plant the chance to get started. Alternatively use animals to graze to the boards instead of spraying however be aware that if it is thick in grasses it may not work so well in Spring early summer so if you wish to improve the likelihood of a good result follow the spray approach initally.

As soon as you have sprayed drill the cover crop at approximately 1 to 1.5 centimeters in depth. Any direct drill we do the job, some better than others. At Linnburn we use a cross slot and a Duncan Renovator, both work however in a perfect world use a no till drill.

If you do not have a drill you can get local contractor, or broadcast the seed. However if you can drive a tractor over the land we would recommend you use a tractor and drill.

Look at the rules of soil health and you will see that we want to leave living roots for as long as possible. At Linnburn sometimes we spray after we have drilled however our seed is typically well buried.

Watch it grow and learn

Once your seed mix is in the ground let it grow, don’t try to control, teach yourself what the different plants are and watch the life turn up… let it grow for as long as you can. If you are a livestock farmer and you are planting cover crops and wishing to get in and eat them in 40 to 60 days you need to change this mindset. Give them as long a you can to allow roots to fully establish and biomass above the ground to fully establish.

Talk to people

When you crop is well on the way to growing… this is your chance to learn… get someone that really understands soil microbiology to talk to you (like a Jono Frew 0211328992 and ask questions about what you are seeing. This is the time to then self educate yourself on other books or youtube videos or trying biological stimulants etc that can help you. This website is only going to have more and more info in the coming months.

Start again

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