Better Suited for Dryland and Dry Farming

There are a lot of dry lands that we can’t plant on? How come? Some say that plants and other living organisms with roots can’t live in the harsh environment of dryland. Plants are extremely adaptable organisms that can easily adjust to changing environmental conditions. The first living organism on Earth’s surface, some think, is them. You can find plants in various settings, including land, water, water-scarce situations, and extreme cold.

Arid tribes planted crops using dry farming techniques long before farmers invented irrigation systems. Dry farming crops are not a high-yielding technique, so their use has declined over time. However, due to the benefits and being better suited to dry farming, it is seeing a resurgence. 

What is Dry Farming? 

Farming without water is not the same as dry farming. You don’t need irrigation instead. Consider the soil to be a giant sponge: healthy soil can retain rainfall coming from seasonal months at a time, and healthy vines can absorb it.

The terms dry farming and rainfed agriculture are note interchangeable. Rainfed agriculture is crop production that takes place during the rainy season. On the other hand, dry farming is the crop production in a dry season that uses the remaining moisture in the soil from the previous wet season, usually in a location with 20″ or more annual rainfall.

Dry farming uses a strategy of tillage, surface protection, and drought-resistant types to save soil moisture during long periods of drought. It has a long history of application in dry farming. Dry farming has been practiced for thousands of years in the Mediterranean region, especially with olives and grapes.

Dry farming is not a method for increasing yields; rather, it allows nature to determine the true viability of agricultural output in a given place.

Impediments of Drylands

Due to the limited and unpredictable rainfall in drylands. The following are some of the dryland constraints:

  • When the monsoon arrives late in dryland areas, crop sowing is usually delayed, resulting in low yields. Rains may stop early in the season, exposing the crop to drought and throughout the blossoming and maturity stages, reducing crop yields significantly.
  • In general, rainfall in dryland areas is minimal and erratic, resulting in uncertain crop yields. The rainfall distribution during the crop time is inconsistent, with the crop receiving a lot of rain when it isn’t needed and none when it is.
  • Dryland environments are subject to various soil degradation processes, particularly oil erosion.
  • The temperature in the desert changes a lot. Temperatures stimulate crop development during moisture stress and drought, resulting in forced maturity. Chilling or frost injury during flowering causes poor grain setting and quality degradation.
  • Fragmented and scattered small landholdings are typically less than 2 hectares. A lack of market facilities, frequent crop failure, bad economic conditions, and other socio-economic problems associated with drylands are all factors.
  • Dryland soils are dry and lacking in macronutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Drylands are not just thirsty but also hungry, to put it another way.

Type of Crops for Dryland

1.) Dry Beans

Dry beans may grow in a variety of soil types. They are unaffected by soil type as long as it is adequately fertile, well-drained, and free of factors that hinder germination and plant emergence, such as salinity. Dry beans are a summer crop. The ideal average growing temperature for the dry bean is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can endure a wide variety of temperatures. At any stage of plant development, the dry bean is not tolerant of frost or prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperatures.

2.) Melon

Melons grow best in well-drained, warm, sandy, or silt loam soils, but they can grow in various types. Planting on land where cucumber or pumpkin have been cultivated in the previous three years will lower the danger of diseases and insects. Plant in sandy soils with sufficient sun exposure and air drainage if early harvest is important. Melons will benefit from building free-standing raised soil beds if soil drainage is poor, as they will catch more heat from direct sunshine and help expedite the emergence and growth of melon harvests.

3.) Potato

You may produce the potato practically anywhere except saline and alkaline soils. Natural loose soils, which have the least resistance to tuber enlargement, are favored, while sandy loam soils, rich in organic matter and have adequate drainage and aeration, are ideal. Growing potatoes necessitates a lot of ground preparation. Harrow the soil until it is completely clear of weed roots. In most situations, three ploughings are required, and periodic harrowing and rolling before the soil is soft, well-drained, and well-aerated.

4.) Tomato

Tomatoes grow best in dry conditions, although they grow in any soil type except thick clay. Excessive clay can be solved by adding sand, sawdust, peat moss, or other amendments before planting to enhance the texture. A well-drained soil is the best; experts advise this as better suited for tomato crops. Tomatoes don’t do well in foamy wet soil, so don’t plant them there. Also, don’t plant them in overly hot, dead soil or anywhere where standing water collects after rain.

5.) Squash

Summer and winter squash thrive in full sun locations with healthy, well-drained soil rich in organic materials. You can use compost, decomposed manure, and compost to add organic matter to the soil. You can plant squash 1-inch steep hills. To avoid your seeds rotting before sprouting, wait until the soil temperature has reached at least 60F before direct seeding. 

Final Thoughts

The soil type is important to know because it varies from area to area and field to field. The nutrient analysis also gets the type and name of the soil to get a sample from them. The physical features of the soil and grass management procedures such as watering, mowing, aerification, and how much the fields are utilized influence the amount of water, air, and nutrients available for plant growth. Contrasting the physical properties of soils will eventually assist you in determining how to efficiently manage them.

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