Rebecca Zentveld provides insight to the Farming Together audience on the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance cover crop research project – looking promising for coffee growers.
Regenerative Agriculture Alliance & Farming
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Cover crop research project looks promising for coffee growers.
20 September 2021
Written by Farming Together
“On the first day of Spring, Rebecca Zentveld, owner of Zentveld’s Coffee Plantation and Roastery, located on 15 hectares in Northern NSW, witnessed an eruption of colour between the rows of mature coffee plants on her trial multi-species cover crop plot.
The field pea and vetch, among the mix of legumes, cereals, radish, buckwheat and broadleaf, sown in June, were bursting with hot pink and purple flowers. The cover crop trial, led by Dr Terry Rose from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University, is delivered by the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance in partnership with the Australian Macadamia Society, and the Australian Subtropical Coffee Growers’ Association. This project is one of one of eight industry-led soil research projects which aim to quantify the benefits of regenerative agricultural practices in restoring soils across Australia over three years.
However, it wasn’t just the riot of colour that lifted Ms Zentveld’s sprits. “We found that two native grass species were showing up in the rows where we had planted cover crops the previous year. Bringing in more biodiversity by planting our 7-9 cover crop seed mix has allowed the right conditions for our dormant native grasses to thrive, which is very exciting.
“It was a moment of joy in our regenerative farming journey; bringing life and diversity to the land we look after.”
The eight soil research projects are funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. The grant funding is from the Building Landcare Community and Capacity Program (BLCC), which is an element of the National Landcare Program (NLP). BLCC grants are funding a diverse range of projects across Australia which are agriculture-focused, strategic, capacity building initiatives to support the sharing of knowledge and achievements, and promote community leadership.”