Sustainable farming is profitable for farmers and production is steadily increasing. Environment protection is necessary knowledge and techniques to be accessible to farmers. This kind of farming also give way for rich soil that will still be arable in times to come.
Need for sustainable farming
There is an urgent need for sustainable farming to preserve and make soil health and production sustainable in the future.
This method of sustainable farming is new. But it is a traditional science in coordination with modern science. Moreover, it is based on crop rotation, crop residue, green manure, cow dung, organic manure, and organic medicines.
The main objective of sustainable farming is to maintain the fertility and productivity of the land for a long time. Other objectives include getting food production without chemical elements, digestible, tasty, and quality.
How to maintain soil health?
Soil health means that the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the land remain favorable for crop production. Following the following should help in keeping the soil healthy.
To know the health of the soil, you can obtain the following information by testing the soil samples of your field.
Nutrient information in soil
Soil testing generally reveals the levels of key nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, sulphur, and other micronutrients.
pH value of soil
You can obtain information about the acidity or alkalinity or salinity of the soil and these properties are the major factors affecting the water nutrient acquisition from the soil of crops.
Organic matter content
Organic matter is the major factor influencing the water holding capacity of the soil, fertility temperature, the activity of beneficial bacteria.
Through this, you can know the amount of soluble salts in the soil and its deficiency or how the excess affects crop production.
In the case of acidic or alkalinity of the soil, you can determine the amount of soil improver such as lime, gypsum.
Based on the above information through soil testing, there are nutrient recommendations for the maximum yield of the crop. This is called balanced nutrient management. Similarly, to maintain the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil, pay attention to the following things.
The level of organic matter in the soil
- Organic matter is the major factor influencing the water holding capacity of soil, fertility temperature, activity of beneficial bacteria. Therefore, to maintain the availability of organic matter in the soil, use organic manure like:- cow dung, vermi compost.
- Include all possible green manure crops in the crop cycle. Like Sunai, Dhencha, Jowar, Mung, etc.
- Make sure to use concentrated fertilizers like Karanjawali, Mahua Khali, Neem Khali etc.
- Manage crop residues by mixing them in the soil for their decomposition.
Manage coordinated and balanced nutrients
Replenishing the nutrients that crops take from the soil is essential for maintaining soil fertility. Therefore, do balanced nutrition according to the soil test results. Integrated Nutrient Management means efficient and optimal adjustment of all sources of nutrients such as fertilizers, organic manures, organic manures and crop residues, etc.
Key elements of Integrated Nutrient Management
- Along with the use of chemical fertilizers, organic manure, organic manure, green manure should also be used for the supply of major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium).
- In case of deficiency of second nutrients (sulfur, calcium, magnesium, gypsum, lime and other sources should also be used.
- Add fertilizers to the soil or spray plants to provide micronutrients as needed. Mainly zinc, iron, manganese elements are becoming deficient.
- Adjust the amount of fertilizers according to the crop cycle.
- By increasing every possible use of indigenous manure and green manure, all the nutrients are gradually being received by the crops.
- Use of organic fertilizers like Rhizobium culture in pulse crops, PSB culture Azotobacter etc. in all other crops can reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.
- Include pulse crops in the crop rotation.
- Maintain moisture by mixing crop residues in the soil to provide for their direct decomposition.
Soil Improvement Measures
- Correction if the soil is saline, alkaline or acidic is essential for successful agricultural production. Saline soils have more soluble salts while alkaline soils have more sodium. Due to which the plants are not able to acquire the available water and nutrients in the soil.
- To improve saline soil, do land leveling. Leach out soluble salts by fencing or making beds by filling them with rain or irrigation water. Scrape off the layer of salts collected on the surface of the land.
- Use of gypsum, calcite, sulfur etc. according to the soil test results to improve the alkaline soil. Green manure crop has proved helpful in improving Dhencha alkaline soil.
- To improve the acidic soil, add the quantity of chuna according to the pH value of the soil.
- Follow the following measures for using agrochemicals. To minimize the use of agricultural chemicals like insecticides, weedicides etc.
Integrated Weed Management
In weed management, the use of pure weed-free seeds, use of agricultural machinery, and keeping irrigation drains free from weeds, biological control, weeding, etc., can reduce the effect of weeds.
Integrated Pest Management
The use of chemical insecticides can be reduced by using all measures of pest management such as the adoption of crop rotation, use of light traps, pheromone traps, biological pest control, sowing of insect resistant varieties, etc.
Integrated Disease Management
The use of disease-fighting drugs can be reduced with all the measures of disease management such as the use of disease-free improved varieties of seeds, burning of diseased crop residues, summer deep plowing, balanced nutrition, change in sowing time, adopting crop rotation, etc.
Soil Conservation Measures in Sustainable Farming
- The soil of the upper surface of the land is most fertile. Therefore, efforts should be made to prevent soil erosion by water and wind.
- Plow and sow against the slope.
- Manage water efficiently.
- Stop rain water in the field by making bunds. By regulating the amount of organic matter in the soil, increase the infiltration in the soil by regulating the amount of organic matter in the soil.
- Excess land refining work such as plowing etc. has an adverse effect on the structure of the soil.
- Adopt agroforestry.
- To increase the fertility of the soil, do striped farming by including crops like mung, gram etc.
For related content, check out: Profitable Organic Farming — 2022 Guide for Beginners