Regenerative farming with a technology twist
Soil contains organic and inorganic matter, including minerals, microorganisms, earthworms and other essential elements needed to sustain plant growth, whereas dirt is dead soil.
A good healthy soil is rich in nutrients that is consumed by humans and livestock. Soil contains organic and inorganic matter, including minerals, microorganisms, earthworms and other essential elements needed to sustain plant growth, whereas dirt is dead soil. Nevertheless, soils around the world have been mismanaged through tilling, improper chemical use, and poor planting and grazing.
Many are becoming dirt. Research shows soils have lost 50% to 70% of their original carbon stock, which mostly has been released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. Scientists warn there is an estimated 60 harvests left before the soil will be too depleted to feed the planet.
Because traditional practices are not sustainable anymore to guarantee longevity of soil health, growers started to adopt new techniques in soil and crop management. A trendy technique - although bringing fruitful long-term objectives and results - is regenerative farming: diversification of production methods, such as intercropping, managed grazing or agroforestry, to improve and even restore soil health, water quality and biodiversity.
Regenerative agriculture practices have been shown to sequester earth-warming carbon from the atmosphere. Regenerative agriculture not only pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and puts it back into the soil where plants thrive on it, it also improves crop yields, naturally reduces pests and increases biodiversity.
With a twist of technology, to fully control field variables and avoid uncertainties caused by climate, human errors, and other factors, regenerative farming is gaining more space in the market. This technology twist operates as an 'additional layer', offering a full range of tools that goes from smart moisture sensors to drones and field geomapping techniques for a 24/7 remote sensing.
Sensoterra is Dutch leader in soil moisture sensing. When working with Sensoterra soil moisture sensors, growers start to respect soil necessity for water, at the active root zone, other than traditional techniques that can cause misinterpretation. Data don't lie, on the contrary, it reduce under- and over-irrigation problems leading to reduction of fertilizers and pesticides, less pests, healthier roots, healthier plants, optimal yield to scale up and feed bigger populations without cutting no more trees.
Soil Heroes work with Sensoterra sensors in their regenerative potato crops to gain the best out of the data, to be then implemented in wiser irrigation and field decision-making. Sensoterra sensors are integrated in Soil Heroes monitoring system for regenerative farming. With satellite-, drone- and ground measurements, as well as the inputs of farmers, the software can capture and present the exact eco-system services per hectare.
A three-year partnership that has been providing crop yield with soil health in a long-run preparation for future scenarios of changing climates, population growth and higher demands for food production.
Product Owner, Jens van der Veer: "We've developed a monitoring system that can scientifically validate that regenerative agriculture works. By capturing the precise results in secured certificates we can motivate and convince farmers, CEO's, politicians, fathers and mothers to join us."
Want to see the full case study? Access our video with Soil Heroes on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrzmQWh1sjA
About Soil Heroes
'A healthy planet starts with healthy soils'. By restoring agricultural lands to their original ecological balance via a monitoring system that scientifically validates the positive effects of regenerative agriculture, Soil Heroes make sure life grows and prospers as nature intended. The Soil Heroes Fairchain Model is the continuous flywheel that will drive this entire regeneration cycle over the Netherlands and worldwide.
Sensoterra is a technology startup based in Amsterdam, helping growers in agriculture, landscaping and smart cities since 2014. When working with Sensoterra soil moisture sensors, growers start to respect soil necessity for water, at the active root zone, other than traditional techniques that can cause misinterpretation. Data don't lie, on the contrary, it reduce under- and over-irrigation problems leading to reduction of fertilizers and pesticides, less pests, healthier roots, healthier plants, optimal yield to scale up and feed bigger populations.
Caroline is a Soil Data Manager at Sensoterra. Previously, she worked as a laboratory analyst, responsible for data analysis of roots and soil, identifying pesticide contamination and plant accumulation. Her background is in Environmental Science, with a Masters's degree in Water & Environment from Radboud University.Get in touch