Agricultural practices are transforming across the world due to increased food demand, and scientific methods are in use to improve soil fertility and sustainably. Researchers say that sustainable agriculture practice is the wave of the future.
What is Sustainable Agriculture:
- Sustainable agriculture covers many areas related to agriculture, such as:
- Economic Sustainability: a farm should contribute to a sustainable economy.
- Social impact: farm should be beneficial to its surrounding community and accommodate workers with it
- Environmental Sustainability: taking into account the stewardship of natural systems and resources.
The other things that are crucial contributing factors to sustainable agriculture include:
- Maintaining healthy, fertility soil
- Wisely managing water resource
- Promoting biodiversity
7 Best Sustainable Agricultural Practices
With a lot of research and applications, science has come up with several key factors contributing to the best farming practices. Let’s educate ourselves and farmers in our vicinity.
Crop Rotation and Diversity in Agriculture:
Soil loses its fertility and vigor by the cultivation of the same crop year after year. That’s why scientists urge farmers to rotate crops on the same soil to improve soil health. It is also helpful in pest control practices. Moreover, you will provide enough time for the soil to replenish it’s lost ingredients due to the continuous cultivation of the same crop.
In the agricultural terms, crop rotation is called “intercropping” which refers to growing crop mix as well as multi-year crop rotations.
Planting Cover Crops:
Sometimes, the soil is left bare after harvesting of the crop, for a few months. It is usually not a good practice to left a barren land. The agriculturists recommend the planting of cover crops such as clover or hairy vetch during off-seasons. But,
What are the benefits of planting cover crops?
- Cover crops take great care of soil by replenishing soil nutrients. They preserve soil vigor and reduce the chances of soil erosion. Moreover, it keeps the soil weeds in check this reducing the application of herbicides.
Traditional plowing is called tillage which prepares the field for crop plantation. But, it can damage soil and cause loss of land. That’s why low tillage practices are recommended. These practices maintain soil facet and plant seeds directly into the undisturbed soil. As a result, the ground becomes more crop friendly and stays healthy for a more extended period.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM):
IPM uses an integrated approach, including mechanical and biological methods, to control the pest population. It works systematically to control the pest population while reducing the use of pesticides.
Management of Livestock and Agriculture Crops:
Most of the agricultural practices have a cattle farm and crop situated far away from each other. It requires more labor, energy, and time.
- One of the best practices is to integrate the animal farms and crop production fields. It is a smart choice to maintain an efficient and profitable farm.
Agroforestry refers to the mixing of trees or shrubs with their crop cultivation. Sustainable agriculture plants trees with their crops to protect plants from strong winds and unfavorable environments. It also helps to preserve the water table in the soil, and these trees could be a source of additional income.
Management of Landscapes:
Don’t let any part of soil uncultivated instead get benefits from it.
Sustainable agriculture treats every inch of soil as an integral part of the farm. Thus, allow the growth of on untapped land because its helpful in attracting pollinators increasing biodiversity. Grow beautiful flowers and attractive herbs that will also make your farm appealing for workers to work there.
The Bottom Line:
Educating yourself with the latest farming practices and their application is a smart approach. Keep in mind the critical factor in sustainable agricultural practices is “diversification” and complex like a natural system.
Author: Ahsan Shabbir, University of Agriculture Faisalabad