Regenerative Farming: Is it the Answer and Where Does Enhanced Weathering Fit?

Advances in technology after World War II and the 1947 Agriculture Act, which attached large importance to food security and self-sufficiency, caused huge changes in agriculture. Whilst the number of farms decreased, individual farm size got larger and farm operations became more intensive and tended to specialise in either dairy or arable.

Advances in technology and agronomic science led to widespread use of more farm machinery as well as chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These advances led to a massive increase in productivity.  

As a result of these changes, yields of wheat increased from around 2 tonnes/hectare in 1940 to around 7 tonnes/hectare in 2000. In the same period milk production doubled. But there’s always a payoff. These huge changes have left their mark. Biodiversity, soil health and carbon emissions have all been negatively affected, many claim as a direct result of these more intensive farming practices.

Responding to change

It’s interesting to see how much farming practices changed post-World War II in response to new technology, scientific advancements, political influence, new legislation and economics. A common criticism of farmers is that they don’t respond well to change, that they farm their land as generations before them have farmed their land. But clearly that’s just not true. 

Farmers are well equipped to navigate such change, having done so before. So what are farmers facing now?

  1. Climate change
    Governmental pressure to address agriculture’s hand in climate change is mounting and with retailers promising to become net-zero businesses, farmers have to address their operations to remain competitive or take advantage of new financial incentives.
  2. Increasing costs
    With the conflict in Ukraine affecting availability and costs of inputs such as utilities, fertiliser and cattle feed, farmers will have to review farm operations to become more efficient.
  3. Economic volatility
    Specialising in just one crop, or focusing on only arable farming is less viable as markets become more volatile. No one wants all their eggs in one basket. Diversification is essential to long-term business viability.
  4. Politics
    The outcome of Brexit and loss of subsidy, changing legislation and new financial incentives arguably offer as many opportunities as challenges for the savvy farmer.

Could regenerative farming hold the answer?

It can be hard to pin down exactly what regenerative farming is as it refers to a wide range of farm practices which are being added to all the time (as scientific breakthroughs are made), but essentially it is an approach to farming which seeks to interfere less with the natural order of things in order to reverse the negative impact of intensive farming, particularly on soil health.

It advocates for the diversity of crops, integration of livestock, minimising soil disturbance, keeping soil covered and maintaining living roots year-round.

In time, these principles will deliver many benefits for farmers including:

  • Long-term improvements to soil health and structure, leading to ongoing healthy yields.
  • Increased crop resilience without the use of chemicals, improving both crop quality and yield.
  • With fewer input costs, farm profitability will improve.
  • Contributes to solving climate change.

Regenerative farming is an answer to the challenges today’s farmers face, but for good results, farmers will have to be patient. Though, if you have a long-term buy-in to your land, it may well be the only answer that offers long-term protection of a farmer’s most valuable asset: their land.

How does enhanced weathering come into it?

“As the crushed basalt rock weathers it releases alkalinity which helps maintain a slightly higher soil pH. This in turn improves the availability of a wide range of nutrients and micronutrients which benefits not just plants but soil microbial activity too. And then there are a whole range of additional nutrients that are slowly released as the rock weathers.“

Jez Wardman, UNDO Agronomist

A perfect tool in the regenerative farming toolkit

There are so many ticks against enhanced weathering as a regenerative farming tool:

    • Uses an existing aggregate product of the mining and quarrying industry
    • Uses existing farm machinery for spreading
    • Accelerates a natural process that in turn sequesters CO₂ in a more permanent method than planting trees
    • Easily scalable with access to large hectares of land
    • Improves soil health naturally with minimal disruption by alkalising the soil and adding nutrients that could help future crop yields.


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Joe Ritchie

Operations Manager, Scotland

Joe has almost 20 years of experience with alternative materials in agriculture and a background in transport management. His combined expertise is beneficial to UNDO’s logistically complex operation, which involves managing relationships with the rural farming communities in Scotland and the coordination of transporting large volumes of rock.