Originally published August 14, 2019 on Global News
By Nathaniel Dove
Paul Kernaleguen says regenerative agriculture has brought bees back to his farm.
“With the flowering species [of plants] we have now, you definitely see more,” he said.
Dancey and Kernaleguen manage their fields with regenerative agriculture. They said the practice has brought greater profits, efficiency and a higher bee population.
Regenerative agriculture, says Cover Crops Canada spokesperson Kevin Elmy, is designed to replenish “the biology in our soils.”
“We’ve mined our soils and our soil is going in the wrong direction,” he said.
“We’ve lost about two-thirds of organic matter in our soils. It’s time to build it back.”
Elmy says the mixture of different crops, which bloom at different times and grow at different rates, replenishes the nutrients and bacteria necessary for the soil to be fertile. And he says that the flowers have encouraged the bees to repopulate.
Kernaleguen said there were lots of bees when he was growing up before they all but disappeared around 10 years ago.
“It’s encouraging,” he said. “It kind of lets you know [the bees are] happy with what you got and you’re helping out the ecosystem.
Kernaleguen didn’t switch to regenerative agriculture because he wanted more bees. He did it because, six years ago, he was worried about feeding his cattle.
“We were in some wet years, Kernaleguen said.
“What we were growing — barley and oats — kept drowning. [So we] got the idea to try something else.”
He attributes the better water management in the soil now to having more active root systems in the soil, and having cover crops — like alfalfa or clover — that are grown for the enrichment of the soil.
Some cover crops are grown all year.