Defining Regenerative Agriculture Forum

23 Sep 2021
Morrison St, Birchip, VIC, 3483

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BCG are currently planning a forum, attracting cropping and livestock farmers and agricultural advisors across the Wimmera and Mallee regions of Victoria to

Define what Regenerative Agriculture (Regen Ag) means for Low Rainfall Broad-acre Farmers in the Wimmera and Mallee

The event aims to understand the goals, principles and associated practices of Regen Ag, and what relevance they have to the local low-medium rainfall region. Benefits of Regen Ag for local farming systems, existing evidence and barriers to adoption will be discussed and used to develop a local investigative research activity.

The event will be facilitated to act as a ‘focus group’ to help explore the following questions:

  • What is the current understanding of, and attitude towards, Regen Ag in the Wimmera and Mallee?
  • Which current farming practices align with Regen Ag and which practices are contradictory to?
  • What scientific and economic evidence exists to support Regen Ag?
  • Is this evidence applicable to Wimmera and Mallee farming systems and low-rainfall environment?
  • What are the benefits that landholders see and what are the barriers to adoption?
  • What are the priority evidence gaps that need addressing to best facilitate Regen Ag adoption?

At present, much of the data on regenerative agriculture (such as the productivity, profitability and sustainability benefits of cover cropping) is anecdotal and/or not conducted under Wimmera and Mallee conditions. Widespread adoption cannot occur without robust and repeatable evidence relevant to the local environment.

Farmers in the low-rainfall broadacre cropping region operate under dramatically different conditions and have adopted a system of high production, high input farming practices that are profitable, sustainable, and improve farming conditions through a process of replacing beneficial natural elements in the soil, such as primary macro-nutrients such as N, P and K and through topsoil conservation techniques such as stubble retention, no till or minimum-till farming, diverse crop rotations, long fallows and integrated pest and weed management strategies encompassing multiple methods for weed and pest control.

BCG’s mission is for broadacre farmers is to be profitable and low risk, while also ensuring that the agricultural landscape is sustainable for future farmers without a decrease in productivity. In comparison to a slow farming system where production is reduced – sustainable broadacre farmers have adopted practices which use advanced technology to match inputs to yield potential and regenerate soils through applied science.

Regenerative agriculture is an avenue that we are keen to explore and understand, particularly:

  1. What is Regenerative Agriculture trying to solve?
  2. What are we trying to regenerate?
  3. What agronomic mechanism will enable or facilitate this regeneration?
  4. Can this mechanism be integrated into an agronomic practice that is likely to be economically and socially viable in low rainfall zones?
  5. What measurable indicators are there for regenerative systems – what makes them regenerative? Which of these indicators are relevant to our lower rainfall systems?
  6. What political, social and/or economic forces will drive use of the new agronomic practice?
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