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Water holding capacity

Quantifying the improvement in soil’s water retention capacity resulting from applying regenerative farming practices.

The soil’s water holding (or retention) capacity is the amount of water that a given soil can hold for crop use. Why is it so important? When there is a deficit in the amount of water in the soil, the soil needs to be replenished by precipitation or irrigation. The key is for farmers to understand the nuances of soil water holding capacity and how to manage it so that the land does not require so much irrigation or suffer from a drought. The higher the water holding capacity, the more resilient the crop is because the soil is able to resist extreme weather events.

As extreme weather patterns (very long and wet winters, very dry and hot summers) increase, water retention is the variable that provides the most improvement to the resilience of soil. By improving soil quality and restoring soil’s water retention capacity, farmers will quickly experience the benefits on crop resilience.

This project is working with the University of Wageningen to test the evolving water holding capacity across 35ha. We are comparing conventional plots with two types of regenerative plots – each at different stages of transition to regenerative methods (some plots have been in transition for more than 5 years, others for 1-3 years).

Project Partners

Project Summary

  • Type: Proof of practice
  • Start date: September 2020
  • Projected end date: 2024
  • Budget: EU 1,895,620
  • Funded by: EU EAFRD, WWF, Patagonia, Stichting Doen Foundation, Municipality of Hoeksche Waard.
  • Co-financing need: FULLY FUNDED