Did you know that regenerative agriculture actually increases the land’s ability to absorb water from a hard rain? Sadly, this is not the case with conventional farming — which often leaves soils dried out and acting more like cement pavement.
Water infiltration –or, how fast water can get into the ground after a hard rain, is a key metric that helps identify if land is healthy.
Regenerative agriculture helps increase the land’s ability to capture the rain — even hard rains . . . which means less need for irrigation and less run off of fertilizer (natural or not) from the land and into rivers.
How? All those year-round living roots, cover crops and and un-tilled soil work together to create land that is more like a sponge and less like a parking lot. Having so many plant roots in the ground is adds thousands of tiny holes for rain to seep into — plus, the healthy microbiome fed by cover crops and un-tilled land keeps the soil clustered together to better hold and store water as it comes in.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides even more detail:
Management practices such as using diverse high-residue crops, maintaining residue on the soil surface, using cover crops, and managing equipment traffic to avoid compaction affect infiltration by minimizing surface crusting and compaction and increasing soil organic matter content and porosity. Unless the soil is protected by plant or residue cover, the direct impact of raindrops dislodges soil particles, resulting in runoff and erosion. The rainfall simulator in figure 1 shows that more runoff
Learn more about this amazing benefit of regenerative agriculture from two of our members — regenerative farmer, Derek Axten from Saskatchewan, Canada and scientist and regenerative soil advisor, Dr. Jill Clapperton of Rhizoterra — all, in just one minute!