Restoring ecosystems to increase revenue and decrease costs.
A massive reduction of off-the-farm input costs is one of the regenerative poultry system’s greatest contributions to a farmer’s bottom line. Following the four-dimensional framework of regenerative agriculture, we never assume anything is a problem. Instead, we listen, observe, and look to nature for the answers. It is clear that the more biodiversity there is in a system, the healthier and more resilient it is.
Feed & Supplements
Feed and supplements are two of the few components of the energy cycle that the regenerative poultry ecosystem does not generate itself, so these inputs must be bought off the farm. While all farmers are welcome to deploy the regenerative poultry method, in order to market under the Tree-Range ® brand, they must use organic feed. Apart from a little electrolyte powder starting at week two, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is the main supplement that Tree-Range ® farmers use. Apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered still has the “mother,” which contains powerful, gut-friendly probiotics. Together with garlic, onion, and elderberry extract, apple cider vinegar acts as a natural medicine that staves off infections and improves feed conversion in the birds.
Poultry feed is made primarily from ground corn and soy; commodities that are challenging to obtain in today’s organic grain market. Corn and soy are still unavoidable as the main components of protein and energy for regenerative chickens, but we are making exciting discoveries about the potential to grow chickens on a sprouted, whole grain diet. An end goal of this project is to integrate regenerative poultry with regenerative grain, transportation, and processing sectors to drive down costs while increasing the nutrient-density of the birds.
One production unit produces approximately 6.75 tons or 540 cubic feet of manure per growing season. Manure the chickens produce in the paddocks is intended to nurture and fertilize the ecosystems (mostly fungal) associated with natural manure decomposition, which in turn increases nutrient flow by feeding robust soil systems. Fertilizing with manure activates critical microbial and fungal ecosystems, which in turn make other nutrients and micronutrients available. The added organic matter to the soil ensures more water absorption, retention, and retrieval. As a slow release fertilizer, poultry manure improves the nutrition of the soil by continuously feeding the soil ecosystems and reducing salinization. Manure harvested from the coops is spread to other parts of the farm or sold.
Weed and Pest Management
When nutritional needs are met in conjunction with optimal sunlight, water, oxygen, and CO2 levels, crops’ natural defenses are much higher. Plants that are not held back by disease or predation thrive and give abundant yields without the use of synthetic inputs. Healthy plants biosynthesize volatile molecules and metabolites faster to produce the flavors and aromas of food. In this way, regenerative farmers do more than restore soil and their bottom lines: They provide consumers with healthier, tastier food, and a world with less carbon to worry about.
Together we will reshape modern agriculture by building an ecosystem of agricultural businesses and individuals working together toward regeneration.