Farming or Agriculture plays a great role in our lives. Actually, it is impossible for us to lead a life without farming. It is the main source of food for each and every animal. Therefore, the farmers are practicing many farming methods in this food production process. But as most of the environmental lovers think the modern farming should be operated under a sustainable frame. Now a days the concept of sustainable agriculture plays a great role in our farming methods. In this article I am going to focus on the sustainable soil management practices which is a key sector under sustainable farming.
After few continuous growing seasons, soil become unhealthy for cultivation. Because nutrients and organic matter gets deplete in previous seasons. If farmer grows crop without managing soil, the yield will decrease in this season. Therefore, sustainable management of the soil is essential if we want to have a better yield in the future as well just like now.
The soil which contains high level of organic matter, nutrients and balanced structure is known as a healthy soil. It provides nutrients in optimal level for crops. Cultivation land like this is not need of lot of inputs. Because this kind of soil supply many of nutrients to the crop. Crop can take necessary nutrients from the soil through roots. Also, these nutrients help to plants to survive in extreme weather conditions.
Sustainable soil management will help us to manage our soil in the best way in a manner that, it will give a higher yield now and, in the future, also.
There are several Sustainable Soil Management tips
Increase soil organic matter
Lot of worms and insects like animals and microbes live in the ground. The healthy soil is good home for them. Their nutrient requirement is also supplying by the soil. These kinds of animals are more beneficial to the soil. Because they break down lot of plant residues. And then produce organic matter in soil. This is a part of nutrient cycle. So, contribute to this cycle by degrading crop residues. After breaking down the crop residues, they convert into nutrients and then plant can absorb that nutrients to the plants.
Then farmer do not need to supply total nutrient requirement to the plants. Some nutrients are present in the soil itself due to these actions of the microbes. And those nutrients are not harmful to plants, humans and the soil in present and also in future.
Tillage should use only in problematic areas like where the compacted soil is there and the places where drainage problems are there. If not, tillage is badly affecting to the soil. It can damage the soil environment. Some weed seeds are remaining inside the soil without germinating due to lack of germinating factors. When farmer till that kind of soil weed seeds come to the soil surface. Then a favorable environment will create for them to germinate. So weed population increase due to tillage. Then weeds also absorb nutrients from the soil. Because of this, the competition is building up between crops and weeds for nutrients as well as the land. Then production of the crop is reduced.
Keep the surface of the soil covered
Farmers can use cover crops to cover the soil surface. It is becoming popular in present. It can protect both soil and water. When cover crops are grown water evaporation rate is reduced. When it come to the soil, cover crops increase the nutrient availability of the soil.
Not only that cover crops can reduce the soil erosion too. When cover crops are there, field become cover. Then wind and rain can’t erode the soil easily. Cover crops work as a barrier to soil erosion.
According to the crop grown, requirement of nutrients amount and type is varying. Availability of different nutrients in soil is also vary according to the crop grown in fallow period. Crop rotation also contribute to reduce the soil erosion. The length of roots is differed from crop to crop. So, roots hold soil in different depths and it stabilize the soil against wind and rain. Farmer can follow these tips to improve soil in their field. Then he can get healthy plants and high yield. The yield can increase more if this is done combined with other management practices. The nutrient requirement high areas can detect from soil testing. Thus, farmer can meet good yield from managing soil in sustainable way.