Regenuary

Jan. 4, 2022

Hello Regenuary.

Regenerative farming has become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years. For organic farmers it’s wildly known about, the difference with regen ag is that both organic and non organic farms are following or trialling the principles.

As Dan Belcher from March House Farm says, these are;

Integration of livestock, maintaining living roots at all times where possible, growing a diverse range of crops, keeping the soil surface covered, and not disturbing the soil.

The definition is tricky as no two farms are the same so everyone has a slightly different approach, but for March House Farm, it’s to outcompete problems with diversity and nature.

Dan goes on to say, they are growing several crops using companion cropping or inter cropping. They look for crop synergies, and in doing this they hope to lower weeds, disease and pest burdens, therefore removing the need for herbicides and fungicide sprays. They don’t use pesticides. These crops will hopefully complement themselves, further reducing fertiliser requirements.

‘’We have been dabbling at it for 10 year but in the past 2 years we could see the “more on” approach wasn’t working and we need to treat our soils like our livestock, we doubled the size of the farm, renting a farm that had been abused for 20+ years and new it need a different approach, we visited groundswell and the rest is history’’

Dan adds; ‘’What we practice majors on integrated livestock. There is no doubt it will make us more sustainable but it’s not a quick fix it’s a 5 to 10 year plan’’

They work on a 30 day rotation which gave plants such as clovers time to flower giving an environment for pollinators.

Soil health improves: As plants are given longer rest periods to recover from grazing events, they are better able to replenish and grow their roots. This root material feeds microorganisms as it breaks down in the soil to eventually become organic matter.

As root systems become healthier, the soil becomes more drought resistant. For every inch of soil that roots can penetrate, they access 1 to 2 inches of plant available water.

Whilst doing this they are also sequestering carbon in the soil. Studies are now saying that managed pasture is the largest and most stable carbon sink we have.

sheep in field march house farm

We're totally for changing our relationship with food; the way it's grown and processed and how we eat. Buying direct from farmers so you can ask questions that are important to you is one of the joys of shopping at farmers markets.

Mike Belcher March House Farm