What is the future of agriculture? Is it more important to
- Create a resilient crop that’s designed to withstand the many challenges it may face in its ecosystem, or
- Create a resilient environment in which crops can naturally thrive?
Researcher Ernst Götsch has devoted his life to answering this complex question, and the results are hopeful. His successful experiments in Brazil have earned the name Fugidos da Terra Seca, which means “Escaped from the Dry Land.”
So how did he do it? By experimenting with planting “companion species”: those that were suited to the same ecosystem and even contributed to the flourishing of plants around them.
For example, Götsch discovered that if a small farming operation planted corn and beans together with “the right genotypes” (genotype refers to the genetic makeup of a plant), there would be a resulting 30% increase in the yield of corn without the addition of any fertilizer or crop treatment.
This farming operation demonstrated that plants with a similar genetic structure often complement rather than compete with one another, increasing the yield of both!