Nitrogen Fixing at the Huasteca Regenerative Research Center
The Huasteca Regenerative Research Center (HRRC) is located in an agricultural region dominated by a sugar cane monoculture. Failure to adopt soil preservation strategies has left farmers heavily dependent on chemical fertilizers to provide soil nitrogen.
Experimentation at the center includes the introduction of plants that directly or indirectly fix nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen fixing legumes including sun hemp (Crotalaria juncea) and pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) grow well at our facility, and after harvesting edible components, we will chop and drop the plants as green manure.
We are expanding our plantings of vetiver grass (Vetiver zizanioides) as well. Even though vetiver does not directly fix nitrogen, it is a catalyst to nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil. We realize that the introduction of nitrogen fixing plants will not fully replace the level of nitrogen in chemical fertilizers, but this and other soil regeneration strategies position us to alleviate agrochemical dependence.