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Portrait farmer

Toon, Gelderland, Netherlands

“FarmOn helped me determine what cover crop made sense in my crop rotation on our regenerative fields. This was a key step in moving forward with our regenerative implementation.

 

I know I can defer to the FarmOn service for any further operational challenges as they arise.”

Challenge

Context

Toon and his family farm conventionally in Gelderland, Netherlands. More recently they have started to experiment with some regenerative approaches. They incorporated crop rotations, low-tilling and no pesticide use. They are finding it to be interesting financially and it has been sparking lots of exciting creativity and rethinking their approach.

Goal

Toon's goal was to grow beans regeneratively and store carbon in the soil.

Challenge

Last year they carried out an experiment on one hectare of the 50 hectare farm. This year they extended to two.

The overall investment required for this experiment was very high. This is why Toon absolutely wanted a second opinion, and most farmers around him farm conventionally.

This cover crop had to meet many constraints:

  • Producing enough biomass to create a mulch layer to seed the beans following May

  • Not requiring of ploughing 

  • Surviving the winter Have tried Japanese haver but died due to early frost in winter

  • Seeding the following season must be feasible without the soil temperature being too low

Dutch landscape
Dutch landscape with tree in foreground
Selfie with farm in background

Solution

FarmOn advised to grow winter rye - as well as a side crop mix. This was suggested as the month of May has been particularly dry in the Netherlands. The mulch helps with weeds and moisture retention, and therefore germination.

This has helped Toon and his family ensure carbon was stored, and that his buyers were confident the goods were produced regeneratively.

Facing similar challenges?

Reach out if you are a farmer or work with farmers facing a similar operational issue in the transition to regenerative agriculture.

Try out our Regenerative Hotline now, and ask your question today.

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