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Top Farming Techniques to Improve Agro Ecosystems

Sangeeta Soni
Sangeeta Soni

Farming according to one’s expectation needs planning and it decides upon many factors. Achieving maximum productivity with less expenditure is what is farmers’ approach always. But in the process, many expected and unexpected issues meet his path.

Agro ecosystems need to be understood efficiently and they determine effective farming systems. Let us discuss why and how one can improve efficiency in agro-ecosystems. FAO suggests a unique production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity, and this could be accomplished by using on-farm agronomic, biological and mechanical methods in exclusion of all synthetic off-farm inputs. This kind of farming should improve efficiency as expected. Soil health is given primary importance so that it can preserve our ecosystem, as it is farming in harmony with nature.

Some of the Important practices in maintaining the Agro ecosystems-

1. The no-tillage (NT) system:(also referred to as direct seeding, zero tillage, and sometimes conservation tillage/conservation agriculture) is evolving as the primary strategy in modern farming that adequately protects the soil from erosion, while concomitantly providing solid economic returns and enhanced environmental benefits.Soil health metrics were improved under shallow, non-inversion tillage strategies compared with conventional tillage.Apart from that, it also reduces labour, fuel, and equipment cost, and Soil structure is also improved. As per research, sustained no-till practices will eventually create a soil, water, and biological system that more closely resembles native soil.

2. Cover Crops: Including a perennial crop, like alfalfa, consistently improved soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and aggregate stability.Cover crops are grown for variety of reasons including, reduction in soil compaction, covering the soil to protect it from erosion by wind and water and, improvement in soil structure. Some examples of cover crops are annual ryegrass, crimson clover, oats, oil-seed radishes, and cereal rye.

3. Crop Rotation Diversity:Diversity of crops in rotation in agricultural fields increases the diversity of soil microbes below ground. Recent research has found that a greater diversity of plants will definitely improve soil microbial biodiversity in natural systems.Research from a long term crop rotation trial in central Pennsylvania showed that, compared with corn, corn yields were improved 7 percent when grown in rotation with soybeans, 15 percent in the first year after alfalfa/grass hay and 16 percent in a corn-oat-wheat-red clover hay rotation.

4. Organic Amendments: Combinations of organic amendments such as composts, manures, and vermi-composts improved soil health metrics compared to when applied alone.Organic amendments are derived from municipal sewage sludge (SS), or chicken manure (CM), horse manure (HM), blood and bone meal, and all manures are examples of organic amendments.

As per the research paper of A.K. Barik, Prof.&Head, Department of Agronomy, PalliSikshaBhavana (Institute of Agriculture) Visva-Bharati, Sriniketan, West Bengal, India. The environmental costs of conventional agriculture are substantial, and the evidence for significant environmental amelioration via conversion to organic agriculture is over-whelming. A review of over 300 published reports showed that out of 18 environmental impact, organic farming systems performed significantly better in 12 and performed worse in none (Romesh et al.,2005). But the biggest impact is minimization of pesticide and heavy metal residues in food chain which threaten the human health aspects.

There is a great deal of variety and nuance to organic systems, and future research should focus on how to optimize practices within organic systems to improve and maintain soil health.

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Happy Farming…!!

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