What is farming with nature?
Farming with Nature is a concept that describes how we farm in harmony with our natural environment.
Agriculture plays a central role in preserving and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services. That is why our way of farming is all about working with nature, not against it. We do so by relying on the five main principles of regenerative farming, all aiming to enhance soil aggregation, water infiltration and retention, and carbon sequestration.
We use these principles to some degree on our farms, and incorporating them further into our products is the central part of our strategy to reach our goal of becoming synthetic pesticide-free by 2030.
Limited soil disturbance
Tillage disrupts the natural structure of soil. As the soil is continuously being torn apart, it affects the living organisms in the soil that would otherwise help create natural soil fertility
No-tillage agriculture, on the other hand, is a breeding ground for rich and diverse biological soils. The less the soil is cultivated, the more earthworms and beneficial insects, such as ground beetles, spiders and other macrofauna, will thrive.
A rich and diverse fauna – in and on the soil – will increase the level of natural pest control and therefore reduce the need for synthetic pesticides. The increased number of earthworms plays a crucial role as they enrich the soil with recycled organic material; they also loosen, aerate and improve the soil’s drainage by burrowing and channelling.
Armouring the soil
We always strive to cover bare soil to protect it from wind and water erosion. This is done with either live or dead organic material, for example, by growing cover crops or leaving residues from prior crops on top of the soil. By keeping the ground covered this way, we keep the moisture content in the soil, decreasing the risk of drought and maintaining the soil temperature.
Diversification is key in keeping soils healthy. It is all about using a variety of crops that complement each other by having different attributes.
It can be crops with different root types (shallow roots, deep roots and tap roots). Some crops are high-carbon, some are low-carbon, some are legumes. Some are winter crops, others summer crops. Each of them contributes to the soil’s nutrients and physical properties, thereby maintaining soil health.
Soils are most productive when soil microbes have access to living plant materials. A living root provides a food source for beneficial bacteria and promotes the symbiotic relationship between plant roots and mycorrhizal fungi. Living roots also help to reduce soil erosion.
When grazing is well managed, animals can help sequester carbon and stimulate plant growth. As more grass is grown, more organic matter can be recycled into the soil for feeding microbes. This holds more water and nutrients, growing more and larger plants that absorb sunlight for photosynthesis, sinking more carbon back into the ground.
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