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New Research Claims Regenerative Agriculture Crops have More Nutritional Benefits

A new research study reveals that crops from regenerative agriculture farms have 34% more vitamin K, 15% more vitamin E, 14% more vitamin B1, and 17% more vitamin B2 when compared to crops from traditional farms.

Shivani Meena
Regenerative Agricultural Crops contain more nutritive value than tradition crops
Regenerative Agricultural Crops contain more nutritive value than tradition crops

According to the findings of a study conducted by the University of Washington, farms that used regenerative agriculture practices such as no-till farming, cover crops, and different crop rotations produced crops with elevated amounts of certain vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals than farms that used conventional approaches.

The report was published in Peer J on January 27. Crops from regenerative agriculture farms have 34% more vitamin K, 15% more vitamin E, 14% more vitamin B1, and 17% more vitamin B2 when compared to crops from traditional farms. The regenerative agriculture crops also have 11% more calcium, 16% more phosphorus, and 27% more copper.

"We couldn't locate research that directly tied to how soil health influences what goes into crops," said David R. Montgomery, Ph.D., lead author, and professor of Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington. "So we conducted the experiment that we hoped existed."

The Dillon Family Foundation provided funding for the study's authors. Dr. Washington and his wife Anna Biklé work at Dig2Grow.com, which addresses environmental problems. Paul Brown and Jazmin Jordan, two other authors, produce cattle and sheep at Brown's Ranch in Bismarck, ND, a farm that practices regenerative agriculture and was examined in the study.

Crops from farms that have been using soil-friendly regenerative methods for at least five years were included in the research.

The researchers analyzed eight pairs of farms in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Tennessee, Kansas, North Dakota, and Montana to examine how soil quality and soil health ratings affected crop nutritive value. Each regenerative agriculture field was paired with a nearby traditional farm that farmed the same crop variety, such as peas, sorghum, corn, or soybeans.

"The goal was to attempt to have some direct comparisons in which you controlled for key variables: the crop is the same, the weather is the same, the climate is the same so they're right side by side, the soil is the same in terms of soil type, but it's been farmed quite differently for at least five years," Dr. Montgomery explained.

The research also compared wheat crops. Regenerative wheat crops were planted in a crop rotation system that incorporated cover crops between those spring barley and winter wheat crops. The regenerative wheat samples had 41% more boron, 29% more magnesium, 48% more calcium, and 56% more zinc than the conventional wheat samples.

Comparisons were done between crops cultivated for animal feed and the unsaturated fatty acid composition of beef and pork. The regenerative crops had greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and a better omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio

When compared to meat from cattle fed conventional crops, beef from animals fed regenerative crops contained more than half the quantity of omega-3 fatty acids. When compared to beef from pigs fed conventional crops, pork from regenerative crops contained higher omega-3 fatty acids, including 11 times as much alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and two times as much eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

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