Farmers traditionally use industrial agriculture. In other words, they grow the same crops every year using toxic chemicals that damage the crops and the soil beneath them. Because the soil is eventually depleted with these methods, it’s not the most fruitful practice available today. Instead, many farmers are turning to sustainable agriculture. Before you turn to this method, though, you need to know what is involved.
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So what can a farmer do to achieve sustainable agriculture? Keep reading to learn the top ways.
Crop rotation is something many farmers can easily implement in their
farming techniques. It involves a steady rotation of crops to help the soil stay healthy. When you don’t plant the same crops in the same areas, the soil has a chance to reap the nutrients it needs, rather than depleting it of them because the same crops get planted over and over again.
Using Cover Crops
Cover crops also help preserve the soil on a farm. During times when the crops are picked and the soil is left barren, cover crops can help it keeps its nutrients. The crops serve as a protection by eliminating the growth of weeds and keeping the soil healthy so there is less of a need for chemical use when it’s time to plant again.
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Tillage is the process of turning over the soil. While it might make the soil more fertile, it also causes a lot of soil loss. Farmers can avoid tilling or reduce the amount that they till to avoid the loss of soil. This requires farmers to plant the seeds in the soil ‘as is,’ rather than after it is tilled.
Intermingling Livestock and Crops
Traditionally, farmers kept
livestock and crops far away from one another. Most farmers did one or the other type of farming – they did not do both. Today, they do both and it helps the crops immensely. Studies show that this method can help the crops thrive and the livestock live healthier lives.
Integrated Pest Management
Farmers can use other methods to reduce pests than toxic chemicals. This includes both mechanical and biological methods that are safer for the crops and the farm. This helps keep pests away from the crops but eliminates the use of chemicals that can cause other damages to the crops.
It all sounds overwhelmingly complicated, but it’s doable for any farmer. It’s important to take one step at a time and keep it simple. Implement one change at a time and see how it works on your farm. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and not all techniques will work on all farms. Figuring out what works the best on your farm will help you
make the most of your crops and profits.
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