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Regenerative Agriculture

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Is anyone interested in this area? I had a look through the OP's for a few pages and did a search but did not bring anything up on the forum. As someone who has been around farming and especially organic production for many years, this seems to be an approach which has a lot of merit, and from the scientific evidence coming forwards it looks as if there may be an opportunity if this approach was widely adoption to mitigate some of the worst effects of increasing carbon dioxide levels whilst producing high quality food and other agricultural products in a profitable manner. 

There seems to be little work going on in Thailand either practically or academically at present, but I would love to stand corrected on this if anyone has any input.

 

For those not familiar with the basic principles of regenerative agriculture they are

 

little or no soil disturbance 

maximise plant diversity

maintaining living plant cover at all times

low artificial chemical pesticide and fertiliser inputs 

 

and integrate livestock if at all possible

 

Farms following all these principles are being measured as increasing organic matter levels in the soil up to 0.5% a year. Hence the interest from climate change researchers.  Drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and locking it into soils is a very cheap and effective way to reduce carbon dioxide levels. 

 

For those who wish to pursue this area further, there is already quite a lot of information available. Some is coming from academia in the form of scientific papers, others from practical farmers. Here is the list of some of the more accessible information starting with farmers and moving to the more academic research.

 

Good general introductions

 

Living Soil Film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntJouJhLM48

 

 

Soil Carbon Coalition

https://soilcarboncoalition.org/regenerative-secret-film/

 

 

Carbon Cowboys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGvVli0OTrQ

 

 

Some farmers applying these techniques

 

Gabe Brown - practical farmer with a very clear manner of describing the benefits of these principles on his farm   

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUmIdq0D6-A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfTZ0rnowcc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkoCY4E0Fj4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvQGEtLtIpc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPjoh9YJMk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxIyKfWf9kU

 

Book Dirt to Soil, One Families Journey into Regenerative Agriculture

 

 

Joel Salatin another articulate farmer from USA

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsbDXQBuwPg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z75A_JMBx4&t=69s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBZgANtcXm8&t=2721s

 

He has also authored several books but I have not read any yet

 

 

Charles Massey an Australian farmer and researcher, with a fairly recently published book on the subject

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et8YKBivhaE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vQW8Tl_KLc

 

Book Call of the Reed Warbler

 

 

 

Savory Institute Alan Savory is a Zimbabwean farmer whose principles of rotational grazing are being followed by many of the regenerative farmers who have livestock  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI&t=2s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMjKcCfBtfI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVxLQtSqvbQ

 

Books Holistic Management

          Holistic Management : A New Framework

 

 

 

Dr Christine Jones This woman is my heroine, she has done some amazing research, and has some great presentations of this work on her website and in various youtube clips 

 

website https://www.amazingcarbon.com 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3_w_Gp1mLM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8_i1EzR5U8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW_5eLhKNTY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xZ7nfC7BQk&t=469s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYRpFqUlK78

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuM2tnX-KJI

 

 

 

 

Jena University just to show that Europe while lagging in some ways is also doing some interesting research in the area

 

http://www.the-jena-experiment.de

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=j3SvG2nBCTM&feature=emb_logo

 

 

Rodale Institute this highly reputable and long established institute has been working on low chemical input, no-till, cover crop systems for a long time. We built one of their no-till roller crimpers a couple of years ago for use in our farming activities

 

Organic no-till 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkMB5meXMGg

 

 

Dr Ray Archuleta soil scientist extension officer from US who has been working in the field for many years

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwv-HJnGHMA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uMPuF5oCPA

 

 

Dr David Montgomery A geologist by training Dr Montgomery has a great take on the whole field. I highly recommend his books as well written and informative especially Growing a Revolution

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej4nler3FiY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HwlqR1YnNk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-8mCXxsR3M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ22IV2tDvs

 

Books Growing a Revolution

          The Hidden Half of Nature

          Dirt

 

 

 

Dr David Johnson This guy has done some really interesting research into the microbial benefits of compost, developed an interesting composting system. Being a microbiologist by training he has a very interesting take on things and produces the evidence to prove his points. We have built three of his style of compost heaps but the first will not mature for up to another 6 months. I am not quite sure on timing as his work in Arizona suggest 1 year as optimal, perhaps with the constant heat here in Thailand we can reduce this somewhat. Our first one is 6 months old. 

 

https://media.csuchico.edu/media/Soil+MicrobesA+Their+Powerful+Influence+in+Agroecosytems/0_ltz0ea1h

https://holisticmanagement.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Quivira_Johnson1.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmj611RfBgs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuW42tFC4Ss

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=164&v=18FVVYKU9gs&feature=emb_logo

 

 

 

 

Thailand - and finally a Thai twist on things, this is the only work I could find being done here. 

https://www.asean-agrifood.org/farmers-in-central-thailand-turn-to-alternative-crops-to-sustain-soil-health-after-harvest/

 

I would love to hear from others interested in this area. I hope that this OP sparks some discussion and maybe gives a few evenings of interest to some on the forum inclined to follow the links

 

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Just now, sbf said:

We have built three of his style of compost heaps but the first will not mature for up to another 6 months. I am not quite sure on timing as his work in Arizona suggest 1 year as optimal, perhaps with the constant heat here in Thailand we can reduce this somewhat. Our first one is 6 months old

Love to talk to you about this. Our pig farm and rice crop residues coupled with EM biology and carbonised rice husk produced a constant supply of finished (immature) compost within 3 weeks start to finish. We have two three box compost systems. Some of my old posts circa 2010 might still be here? 

 

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Hi sbf,

Glad to see you here again,hope things are well.

Will take a few days to get through the list but i as one have been modelling on this type of farming to an extent but in the tropics.

Another guy who has similar views and comes from about 50km's where i grew up.

https://www.no-till.com.au/

Can i asked how the roller crimper has been before i build mine.

Regards

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Hi Isaan Aussie,

Have a read through the David Johnson's links if you have time. We also have tried some quick composting methods with daily turning and fair results in a matter of weeks. However what Dr Johnson found in his work was that leaving it completely undisturbed but with adequate aeration changed the balance of microorganisms with a lot less bacteria and much higher fungal levels. There was also a massive increase in the range of microorganisms between 9 and 12 months.  And if you have a chance read through to the results of his work on applications of the composted material. He is using it to spray on more as a soil inoculation at relatively low doses but with some impressive long term results.

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Hi Farmerjo,

Thanks for your response. Yes with all that life throws at one sometimes I have not posted for quite a while, but still busy and active in the farming. 

 

Thanks for the added link, will have a read of that.

 

Roller Crimper good does the job well, although it depends a little on what you are rolling down of course. We are looking to sow a mixed cover crop and then roll down before direct seeding rice next June. Also ditto with the mixed cover crop before we start Sunn Hemp sowings in late August.

 

You probably know there is a detailed plan on the Rodale site, but just in case not here is the link

 

https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/ROdale-Instutute-Roller-Crimper-Plans.pdf

 

We go ours made up with those drawings at the local "Technic" here. Can't recall exactly what we paid, think it was in the vicinity of 24,000. I remember looking at a couple of US websites at the time, and our local price to have it built was around the same price as they were being sold for in the US. They made a great job of it and the "Technic" were really happy to build something a little bit different with the students. Works well, although I would prefer to front mount it and then have a drill behind. We have not evolved tractor wise to that yet so it is two passes rather than one presently. 

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Hi sbf,

Thanks for the reply,i have already priced the pipe at 9.000 but in a 6 metre length,i have also printed out the design so price seems reasonable in a finished product.(had the design printed for 12 months now)

Just need to work out a quick hitch method to the front of my rig and what i will grow to roll down.Rice weed plants in the early days we grew here would of been perfect,things starting to dry up now so will see what survives with the dew.

Video of 1st trial setting up the seeder without grain.

 

 

 

Edited by farmerjo

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10 hours ago, sbf said:

Hi Isaan Aussie,

Have a read through the David Johnson's links if you have time. We also have tried some quick composting methods with daily turning and fair results in a matter of weeks. However what Dr Johnson found in his work was that leaving it completely undisturbed but with adequate aeration changed the balance of microorganisms with a lot less bacteria and much higher fungal levels. There was also a massive increase in the range of microorganisms between 9 and 12 months.  And if you have a chance read through to the results of his work on applications of the composted material. He is using it to spray on more as a soil inoculation at relatively low doses but with some impressive long term results.

I will read his work over the next few days. As a few initial thoughts:

My composting was done as part of a daily routine of cleaning the sty, bagging up to .75 cbm every 3 days. Stockpiling and running aeration systems are not on my horizon. I found storing for a while in this climate often left dried out piles which were very difficult to re-wet. 

I can control the fungal levels with the C:N ratio and the addition of biology if required although the inclusion of EM spraying in the turning produced a pretty good and consistent result. I made up an aerated compost tea brewer which works well and will get more use in the future. Best results when wormcastings and compost were used together. 

Now it is start again time, without the pigs. 

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16 minutes ago, IsaanAussie said:

Some toy box you are building up there FJ. 

I plug away with single shank ripper on the worst area's but same principle.

 

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You hear many of these speakers talk about living soils for the microbes to survive.

Yet in a lot of dry land crop farming that has only a few scattered thunderstorms in the dry season here they still stay present in soils as long as they have dead roots to feed on.

So surely the main message is don't disturb your soil or if you do,keep it to a minimum.

Am i missing something or is this the basis to regenerative successful farming.

Edited by farmerjo

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Many times in research papers words like "Regenerative xxx etc." are used to increase the chance of getting grant/study money when the real issue is a very simple concept such as the soil in thailand. It is just dead and devoid of anything useful for crop production hence the massive use of chemicals to produce a crop and then its not even a good yield per area grown. There is no organic material left because of years of abuse and outdated farming techniques. It is also heavily contaminated due to the overuse of chemicals to try and produce a crop. Rebuilding the soil and organisms required for high yield growth will take years without massive changes in the farming industry here, I dont like beating a dead horse but as I have said before vietnam is producing twice the yield of rice at half the cost, so they must be doing something right as in maybe listening and learning from foreign expertise. We learned in the us after the dust bowl disaster that soil quality is key to crop production.

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Looking at the Yeoman video they was very little soil disturbance ,but he was going down 18-20 inches ,

he was pulling two legs ,the tractor looked too be about 50hp ?,

Now, would 50 hp pull two legs here in Thailand to that depth ,during the dry season ,I did notice that it was old pasture he was working on ,say if cattle had been grazing it field the soil compaction would be higher than an arable field?  (cane fields excluded  in this example ).

I was taught that subsoiled should be done in the dry season ,you get a good shattering effect underground,so allowing the land to breath ,so increasing the microbes .

Subsoiling in the wet season you just make tram lines in the field with no effect ,was this video done after some rain ,hence the easy going.

IA made a point somewhere last week about practices working in other countries but not here in Thailand ,is this a cace .

Like FJ I am plugging away with my single tine ripper ,makes a good job ,you can see where you have been ,it leaves a ridge ,not quite minimum soil disturbance ,But I am certain under ground  it is making a good job.

One thing .out with the fag packet ,and see if I can design and fit   a disc in front  of the subsoiler leg seems to work well. 

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52 minutes ago, farmerjo said:

You hear many of these speakers talk about living soils for the microbes to survive.

Yet in a lot of dry land crop farming that has only a few scattered thunderstorms in the dry season here they still stay present in soils as long as they have dead roots to feed on.

So surely the main message is don't disturb your soil or if you do,keep it to a minimum.

Am i missing something or is this the basis to regenerative successful farming.

Yes you are missing quite a bit regarding what "regenerative agriculture" is all about.  Dead roots to feed on is not enough for healthy soil biology. If that's what you have to work with, no budget for irrigation and soil building, then you really can't hope to regenerate the land you grow on. 

 

http://www.regenerativeagriculturedefinition.com/

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Some of the most important ways for thailand to improve their ag industry would be to repeal the high import and tax duties on farm equipment !! My last trip home every tractor/implement where i am from was gps equipped, there was no waste of seed or overuse of chemicals, sensors on implements that could read the nutrient levels in the soil in real time so no chemical or spray was used unless needed on every seed or plant. Some will say thai farmers can not afford this, but billions and billions seem to be constantly handed out to farmers here and nothing ever changes it only gets worse, that money could buy a lot of equipment. And most important the monopolies on farming supplies here are way past ridiculous, there is so much technology out there now that we cant even look at here let alone purchase.

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