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Soil organic carbon

The Alpha and Omega of healthy soils

Carbon is a central piece of healthy soils, it is part of all the processes that happen belowground. Energy, water and nutrient cycles and soil-dwelling communities cannot function without soil carbon.

Carbon exists in multiple forms beneath our feet: living (soil microbes and fresh residues), dead (slow) and “very” dead (passive) organic matter. Active (living) organic matter can be a few weeks or months old; slow organic matter may have been around for a few years or a decade; the age of passive organic matter (also known as humus) can range from 100 to 1000 years.

As a farmer, your task is to manage these three organic matter pools and increase their levels at the same time. It is not just about adding complex, hard-to-decompose organic matter – crop residues or animal manure – to your soils, but facilitating the processes that enrich all of the pools.

Carbon has several underground sources: root exudates are carbon-rich compounds that feed soil microbes who in return deliver nutrients to the plants. Mycorrhizae are a special fungi which act as an extended root system of the plant, and their hyphae store and move around a massive amount of carbon.

Regenerative farming supports these processes and increase soil carbon stocks 2-3 times faster than classic decomposition.

Our system is built on a handful of recommended practices that will lead to a successful regenerative transition. These practices are built into our system levels called Horizons, and are based on the Six Principles of Soil Health. We support you with the following techniques:

Plan your transition at farm level

Minimize soil disturbance

Keep the soil covered all year long

Create a diverse crop rotation

Have a living root 365 days a year

Integrate livestock