Techniques Of Sustainable Agriculture
The ruthless and unplanned agricultural practices have already resulted in transforming the potential environmental hazards into grave and dangerous disasters. The cutting of trees, burning of shrubs and slashing of crops for the clearing of land has resulted in tremendous amount of deforestation and soil erosion which has in turn resulted into floods and other harming incidents.
Sustainable agriculture undoubtedly provides a very high yield of crop without causing any harm to the environment. Productivity instead of degrading is increased. Sustainable techniques promote the use of technology and modern sciences to combat the side effects of traditional cropping methods. The cultivators or farmers who have followed the approach have observed an unprecedented productivity increase along with better quality of harvest and less damage to the environment.
One important consequence or result of the sustainable approach in the field of agriculture is that the farmers have been able to minimize the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The less use of inorganic substances has resulted in long term maintenance of the quality of the soil. Only quality organic fertilizers made from organic waste are promoted and used. Overall, the environment is also kept protected.
There are a lot of techniques that are together combined and make up the sustainable agriculture. As to why these techniques are important and really necessary, this is a combined list of four major reasons:
- Prevention of weeds
- Lessen use of chemicals
- Increase productivity
- Maintain land and soil quality for years to come
Now there are several methods to achieve the stated objectives. Below are some of the most commonly used techniques in sustainable agriculture:
- Cover Crops
- Crop Rotation
- Soil Enrichment
Planting cover crops is a very common method of implementing sustainable agriculture. With the land mostly full with some or the other crop, the farmers tend to pull this to their own advantage. Most of the cover crops which are planted between the two major cropping seasons help preventing many hazards. The cover crops are many but most common of them are oats, hairy vetch, clover, etc. Cultivating cover crops in the off season time is one of the best methods to prevent soil degradation through erosion. It also eliminates the excess use of herbicides or inorganic fertilizers that could make the land barren in the long run.
When different crops are grown in regular successive seasons, the technique is termed as Crop Rotation. Crop rotation is undoubtedly one of the best and most effective sustainable agricultural techniques that are used by the farmers to prevent degradation of soil quality.
Crop rotation is an effective solution to almost all of the major problems that include pests and weeds. When rotation is done, the farmers may choose to cultivate plants like soybeans and legumes which would help in replenishing the soil and restore the lost fertility. Legumes will also fix the nitrogen in soil and thus help in better growth.
There are several other techniques, which might be used as per the demands and requirements of a specific area.