Reduction in N use as the fifth pillar of Regen. Ag. ?

Goldilocks

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Most people seemed to have agreed that Regen. Ag. is underpinned by four main pillars :
-No -till,
-Continuous soil cover via cover cropping etc,
-Building diversity through wide rotations ,companion cropping etc,
-livestock integration.
How about adding a fifth pillar of aiming to reduce N use e.g. by using N rates that optimise the carbon footprint per tonne of crop produced rather than rates for max. economic yield. Now that all of the Regen. Ag. community have pretty well got the four pillars sussed will give a nice new impetus for people to get their teeth into.

Please discuss..................
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
Most people seemed to have agreed that Regen. Ag. is underpinned by four main pillars :
-No -till,
-Continuous soil cover via cover cropping etc,
-Building diversity through wide rotations ,companion cropping etc,
-livestock integration.
How about adding a fifth pillar of aiming to reduce N use e.g. by using N rates that optimise the carbon footprint per tonne of crop produced rather than rates for max. economic yield. Now that all of the Regen. Ag. community have pretty well got the four pillars sussed will give a nice new impetus for people to get their teeth into.

Please discuss..................

N use has to drop dramatically if regen ag is truly to be egen so agree this should be a pilar
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta
No.

I don’t care how regen you are, you need N.

Now if you emphasized reducing synthetic N inputs you’d be closer to a pillar.

My plants use N. They require N. I’m not going to refuse them what they need. However through diversity, legumes, animals, etc. I will supply them with their needs. Just not through synthetic inputs.

Don't reduce N. Re source it.
 

Goldilocks

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Oxfordshire
No.

I don’t care how regen you are, you need N.

Now if you emphasized reducing synthetic N inputs you’d be closer to a pillar.

My plants use N. They require N. I’m not going to refuse them what they need. However through diversity, legumes, animals, etc. I will supply them with their needs. Just not through synthetic inputs.

Don't reduce N. Re source it.
Maybe i wasnt clear . When i say reduce N inputs i am meaning synthetic N. Obviously all natural N sources are good and even synthetic N up to a point becuase you are using it to grow bigger , higher yielding crops that are photosynthesising more . Trick is to use it at a level that does not become wasteful and environmentally damaging , hence need to redraw N dose response cuves to reflect environmental issues and arrive at a new sustainable optimum.e.g. having a stab to put numbers on how about moving down from a rtypical UK rate of 220 kg/ha on wheat to somewhere nearer 140 -160 kg/ha ???????? Also need to work on N use efficiency to try to max. that out.
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta
The assumption will almost always be that you meant synthetic N.

Shouldn’t be relying on assumptions though.

I’d even hesitate at trying to find a new level to use. By boosting plants growth artificially with inputs you are causing imbalance in the system. If it can’t support those plant growths on its own and you need to artificially manipulate it, then are you in fact being regenerative? Or are you just being less harmful.

The goal should be to get the system functioning as a whole so that it can support better growth.

This removal of synthetic N is generally why single crop yields drop and production by the acre needs to be looked at instead.
 

Goldilocks

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Yeah, agréé with KP on this one.

stuff artificial N.
_Philosophically i agree with you but back in the real world we are never going to convert worldwide Ag. to 100% organic ; would destroy the niche market and meet too much resistance from mainstream ag.
My interest is in creating major environmental improvements by moving a lot of farmers slightly further along the sustainability spectrum rather than moving a few farmers a long way .
 

Fenwick

Member
Location
Bretagne France
_Philosophically i agree with you but back in the real world we are never going to convert worldwide Ag. to 100% organic ; would destroy the niche market and meet too much resistance from mainstream ag.
My interest is in creating major environmental improvements by moving a lot of farmers slightly further along the sustainability spectrum rather than moving a few farmers a long way .

Meet résistance? Most probably.

Dont care much about thé niche market though. Happy to get a better price, don't get me wrong. but i wouldn't use sprays even if i didn't.

Want to encourage other farmers to stop? Thén we shouldn't critisize thèm.
Perhaps we could set an example instead?
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
Most people seemed to have agreed that Regen. Ag. is underpinned by four main pillars :
-No -till,
-Continuous soil cover via cover cropping etc,
-Building diversity through wide rotations ,companion cropping etc,
-livestock integration.
How about adding a fifth pillar of aiming to reduce N use e.g. by using N rates that optimise the carbon footprint per tonne of crop produced rather than rates for max. economic yield. Now that all of the Regen. Ag. community have pretty well got the four pillars sussed will give a nice new impetus for people to get their teeth into.

Please discuss..................

Seriously? You're advocating a system of agriculture completely reliant on the use of Glyphosate, by saying you don't need to use quite as much artificial N?

If you think you're going to throw 'conventional ag' under the bus to sell your idiotic half baked pious idea, think again.
 

Goldilocks

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Ouch ! thats a bit harsh........Am also trying to reduce my use of Glyphosate.
Have spent most of my farming career ( (45 yrs ) on the industrial Agriculture Hamster wheel but when it starts to become obvious that in the course of running our Ag. businesses we are degrading the environment and using up Natural resources without paying for them ( effectively stealing money and quality of life from our grandkids ) then any thinking person should try to make changes to help minimise the negative effects.
Not saying it is the farmers fault , we have just been responding to market forces and government policies.....................
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
It's certainly an interesting concept, but it isn't really outcome-based?
I might find a way to create income in quite a regenerative fashion without producing a damn thing - so my system isn't going to require synthetic N or "be completely reliant on glyphosate" either

Yes, we have diversity and growing plants 12 months of the year, because it's a livestock grazing business.

But the concept of making RA about restriction of inputs and tools is what's wrong with all incarnations and flavours of agriculture - in that mimicking a closed loop system using an open loop system is flawed.
Our consumers don't give us their waste to put back, and in a UK sense you aren't even meant to compost your deadstock, it's all very extractive in this respect. That's how cities eat!

Yes, nitrogenous fertiliser has a much larger C footprint than ideal, but the real shift away from it is by resourcing it, as @Blaithin put it.
By making our systems less extractive, less death- and control-based, then the inputs can reduce by themselves.
There is no need to make RA rigid, it's about flexibilty and exploring how to turn a system based on 'death to foes' about life. And about how to have better conversations.
 

Fenwick

Member
Location
Bretagne France
It's certainly an interesting concept, but it isn't really outcome-based?
I might find a way to create income in quite a regenerative fashion without producing a damn thing - so my system isn't going to require synthetic N or "be completely reliant on glyphosate" either

Yes, we have diversity and growing plants 12 months of the year, because it's a livestock grazing business.

But the concept of making RA about restriction of inputs and tools is what's wrong with all incarnations and flavours of agriculture - in that mimicking a closed loop system using an open loop system is flawed.
Our consumers don't give us their waste to put back, and in a UK sense you aren't even meant to compost your deadstock, it's all very extractive in this respect. That's how cities eat!

Yes, nitrogenous fertiliser has a much larger C footprint than ideal, but the real shift away from it is by resourcing it, as @Blaithin put it.
By making our systems less extractive, less death- and control-based, then the inputs can reduce by themselves.
There is no need to make RA rigid, it's about flexibilty and exploring how to turn a system based on 'death to foes' about life. And about how to have better conversations.

Plenty of N kicking around in thé air. Pretty cheap as it happens too.

We don't buy much of anything. But are still producing plenty.

Learning to farm without synthétics is liké when you learn to ride without training wheels. Once you've got it, you don't feel thé néed to turn back.
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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