Regenerative Agriculture is a system that farmers use to harness the power of nature to build up the soil, enrich it with nitrogen and other key nutrients, reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizers, and improve yield.
This type of farming also has the added benefit of capturing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the biomass and soil. Like many things we discover in nature, regenerative agriculture shows us that doing one thing the right way yields good results in other ways.
We work with farmers to foster regenerative techniques that help slow or even reverse soil erosion. Farmers who raise livestock as well as corn crops are able to employ their manure to fertilize their fields, taking back soil nutrients and reducing the need to buy synthetic fertilizers. Farmers deal with drainage and drought, insects, bad weather, and other causes of crop damage, and they use high-technology solutions to monitor the productivity of their fields and employ their machinery in the most efficient ways.
Regenerative Agriculture Techniques
- Strip-tilling ensures the soil gets built up and has the added benefit of sequestering more carbon. After harvest, the rows of root balls from the corn stalks are left in the ground to deteriorate over time and become part of the soil. When it’s time to plant, the farmer shifts each crop row over 15 inches, and tills a narrow four-inch-wide strip between last year’s rows. That lets last year’s root ball feed the soil as this year’s corn grows between.
- Putting corn stover to use. Farmers around Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minnesota use stover in various ways that keep its nutrients in the land. Roughly half of the stover is left in the field to decompose, adding biomass to the soil and reincorporating nutrients that the plant drew from the soil as it grew. The rest of the stover is used to feed the livestock on the farm. This livestock digests the stover, and the resulting manure contains the nutrients the corn drew from the soil. The manure is then used to fertilize the field.
- Cover crops help rebuild soil. Growing cover crops helps protect the soil from erosion and runoff, both with roots that help hold it together while the plant itself can deflect the impact of rain drops. Cover crops improve soil organic matter, store soil nutrients, and allow for greater moisture content.
Gevo works with farmers to incorporate regenerative techniques into their everyday farming practices, reaping the benefits through improved yields, reduced costs, and even better carbon sequestration.