Management of soil Soil is a sustainable resource. Modern farming techniques are designed to get maximum profits. Soil management refers to process which attempts to adjust soil factors to maximize crop production at the lowest costs.
Basic objectives of soil conservation
We must all have seen the impact of the excessive rainfall on the land. it makes it swampy, marshy creating gullies and ravines all over the surface. It renders the land and the soil unfit for use.
Groundwater today is falling below the level we expected. Also, if water is allowed to stay in the soil for a longer time, it washes away all the nutrients from the soil resulting in the death of the plant.
When there is no proper drainage system, water of the rain tends to flow in channels to the sea and oceans carrying with them all the essential and vital nutrients. A wise farmer shall try to use the same water by blocking it and then storing in proper containers.
Soil erosion can be reduced by modifying physical and chemical properties of the soil.
Soil conservation measures
It refers to the technique of growing a crop for few seasons and then replacing it with another crop. Continuous growing of one crop such as tobacco cause more erosion as the crop uses the same minerals again and again. A good rotation helps in maintaining soil fertility. Good rotation crops are small grams and legumes. Legumes trap the nitrogen from the atmosphere and make it available to the plants in the soil.
Another types of alternating cropping consists of a series of rows of one crop such as corn and soyabean in a wide strip. The next strip is then planted with a crop conserving soil such as grass or grass-legume mixture.
Judicious use of inputs
There must be a balance in the use of fertilizers, water and pesticides. The use of too much water leaches the soil and increases salinity.
Traditional agricultural practices are now believed to be much more beneficial than the modern farming practices. It is known that the produce was much less but at least, they did not harm the environment. The earlier farmers did not play with the health of the people just for earning certain amount of profits.
Good soil management includes the following:
In agriculture, green manure is a type of cover crop grown primarily to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. green manure is not something that the farmer shall keep as a valuable item. It is kept only for a fixed time period after which the plants enacting as green manure is ploughed back into the soil.Yes, it kills that plant but is beneficial for the other important crops that feeds our stomach.
Leguminous plants such as clover and pulses fix the atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates and phosphates so that plants can use them without any difficulty or without much wastage of energy. Green manures increase the percentage of organic matter in the soil, thereby improving the capacity of the soil to retain water and make it more porous so that it can afford more of oxygen for the plants to survive.
Advantages of green manuring
Compost is a biological process of conservation of organic matter of refuse to a usable stable material. A good mix of of browns and greens is the best nutritional balance for the microbes.
"Greens" are the fresh plant materials such as green weeds form the garden, fruits and vegetables scraps, green leaves and tea bags etc. The greens have more nitrogen in them.
"Browns" are dry and dead weeds and plant materials such as straw, dry brown weeds, autumn leaves, wood chips and sawdust. As such, these items are the source of energy for the compost microbes. Because they tend to dry, they need to be moistened. They helps out with the aeration and the amount of water in the pile.
How to make compost
Farm yard manure
From the beginning of agriculture, the utilization of farm wastes, rotten by means of urine and dung of animals has been the principle method of replenishing soil losses. Under the covered yard system, the dung and litter are left under the animals until a layer is produced. Then the dung is carted out in a heap to ripen.
The ideal method of storage of organic manure is under anaerobic conditions at a temperature of 26 degrees. The manure heap gradually loses nitrogen and the best hope of improvement lies in storing the manure in water.
The final product is not fine powder. It is a partially rotted material, which cannot get into pore spaces of the soil until further decay takes place.
Plantations to check soil erosion
Crops like grass, groundnut etc. act as excellent soil covers against erosion of soil. These crops provide a cushioning effect against the rain drops. Close growing crops also help in controlling soil erosion by providing root channels through which water moves downward.
Gully control is extremely important for preventing complete destruction of cultivated lands and grasslands. This can be done in two ways:
Pesticides and herbicides
A pesticide is a chemical or biological agent that kills pests.
Pesticides also have an effect on man. Chemical pesticides are non-biodegradable and their concentration in soil goes on increasing with successive application. this process is also called Bio magnification.
Harmful effects of pesticides
Alternatives to chemical pesticides
Advantages of bio-pesticides
Names of some organic pesticides
These are very good pesticides. Unlike the chemical pesticides, they do not stick to the skin of the fruits and vegetables. Thus, it will reduce our effort to wash them intensively. Even if we eat them without washing, there shall be no danger to our body. In a way, it shall save water also. Well, this is a very remote benefit that I thought of.
Biofertilizer is a cent percent natural and organic fertilizer that helps to provide and keep in the soil all the nutrients and microbes required for the benefits of the plants. Organic fertilizers differ from chemical fertilizers in the way that the former feed our plants while adding to organic material in the soil.
Sources of biofertilizers The main source of bio-fertilizers are bacteria, fungi. Plants have a number of relationship with fungi and bacteria which they utilize for the nutrients.
Legume-rhizobium relationships Leguminous plants require high quantities of nutrients as compared to other plants. Nitrogen is an inert gas and its intake is impossible in the sense that one cannot use nitrogen unless it is changed into some other usable compound. That usable compound may be nitrates or ammonia.
One may find these two names anywhere on the internet.There are much more examples of bio-fertilizers which I think will be inappropriate if I mention them here as it shall definitely enhance the quality of my resource but at the same time deduce its reliability.
Advantages of bio-fertilizers