ERA is short for Ecological Regenerating Agriculture. It is a concept formulated by the BERAS project, and it builds on BERAS’ research on agriculture’s eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea suffers from eutrophication, largely due to nutrient leakage from specialized farming.
Through research carried out, BERAS can show that the nutrient leakage of nitrogen and phosphorus would be drastically reduced if conventional agriculture shifted to ERA principles (read more about BERAS’ research on www.beras.eu). What essentially distinguishes an ERA farm from a “regular” organic farm is the use of leys in crop rotation and self-sufficiency (at least 85%) with fodder and manure within one farm or a number of farms in collaboration.
The results show that conversion to ERA with a livestock that is adjusted to its own fodder production – in combination with other measures to reduce waste of nutrients – significantly reduces the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. Diverse crop rotations, leys with legumes and no chemical treatment leads to increased biodiversity in these cultivation systems. The results also show reduced negative climate impact from ERA farms thanks to the high degree of self-sufficiency in fodder and manure, no use of mineral fertilizers, which require fossil energy for its production, and also the improvement of the humus in the soil. Studies of the food chain also show examples of how economic development and employment in rural areas is favored by local processing activities and closeness between production and consumption.
BERAS’ research is performed and supervised by Associate Professor, Dr Artur Gransted. Artur Granstedt has published many reports and books on the subject, some of which can be downloaded on www.beras.eu.