Everybody knows that factory farming isn’t a sustainable use of land, but it’s still be practised because people think it’s more efficient. It turns out that low intensity farming produces some stellar results too. Researchers looking into cattle on farms found many benefits from a low intensity approach. Indeed, by practicing low intensity farming farmers cane bring life back to their soil and help benefit many species suffering through the ongoing climate crisis. Let’s be less intense, and if you’re looking for a faster fix to help farm fields recover you can reduce the amount of meat you consume.
Researchers found that less intensively managed grassland had greater diversity of plant species and, strikingly, this correlated with better soil health, such as increased nitrogen and carbon levels and increased numbers of soil invertebrates such as springtails and mites.
In the same study, the researchers used the same methods to examine the plant diversity and soil from grasslands on 56 mostly beef farms from the Pasture Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) – a farmer group that has developed standards to manage and improve soil and pasture health.
The researchers found that plots of land from PFLA farms had greater plant diversity – on average an additional six plant species, including different types of grasses and herbaceous flowering plants, compared to intensively farmed plots from the Countryside Survey. In addition, grassland plants on these farms were often taller, a quality which is proven to be beneficial to butterflies and bees.