What is Sustainable Agriculture and How Can I Implement it on my Farm?

sustainable-farmGlobal population is anticipated to grow to reach over 9 billion by 2050. This means the agricultural production needs to increase by 70% at least to meets its growing food demands to feed the entire population. There is a limit to agricultural land and de-forestation is no more a viable option while excess use of fertilisers and pesticides have heavily polluted the land and gave rise to serious sociological and ecological problems. It is imperative that farmers now harness the power of sustainable agriculture for the sake of ecology, instead of only focusing on economic viability of the crop.

 

Sustainable agriculture is the way forward and offers farmers the way to transform their farms into giant recycling centres. It enables farmers to turn crop waste and animal manure into fertilisers. It not only does save them money but it also helps them conserve natural resources. Sustainable production also reduces the requirement for chemical and pesticides use, making the transition to organic and clean farming process much smoother and feasible.  We list down few things that you can easily do on your farm to turn your farming into sustainable one.

 

Crop Rotation

It is one of the oldest and the simplest of all the methods to maintain the health of the soil. Crop rotation has a logical order and if followed properly, crop grown today will help replenish the nutrients that got depleted from the soil by previous crops. For example like planting grains after legumes or row crops after grains or planting barley after wheat to maintain the soil fertility while reducing soil erosion and weather damage. Besides maintaining soil fertility, crop rotation prevents transmission of disease and pest.

 

Crop Diversity

Crop diversity helps farmer protect their crop against pest and disease. Crop diversity can also be done by planting crop variation of the same species. Variations are good to ensure genetic diversity making crops stronger in return. Unfortunately crop diversity is on decline for past few decades.

 

Cover Crop

This is another natural way to fight insect while at the same time enhancing soil quality, fertility and water conservation. Many cover crops have no direct economic value. They are planted around edible crops. Clover is one such example of cover crop which protects soils during winter, filters water and suppresses weeds. Cover crops are also good way to replenish organic matter and promote good soil microorganisms.

 

Integrated Pest Management

This implies the use of various techniques to create an effective pest control system. The first step in the process involves identification of pest, since not pest all needs to be eliminated. Many pest don’t cause major damage and so it’s not a very clever idea to start a full fledge war against them. Leaving them would make better financial sense. Pests can also be prevented using pest resistant crops, crop rotation and using beneficial insects. IPM also makes use of specialised chemicals to fight insects and pests that targeted towards specific pests and not the beneficial insects or wildlife.

 

Soil Fertility

Some of the techniques farmers can employ to improve soil health includes soil tillage. In this practice farmers plough their fields and turn them to aid airing of the soil. Farmers can also leave some crop residue on the ground before they till to enhance the richness of the soil. One of the natural ways in which many farmers around the world are increasing their soil fertility is by adding organic matter such as manure or cover crops.

 

If you want to learn more about sustainable agriculture why not take our world renowned Certificate in Sustaianble Agriculture Course. Once completeing the course you get a certificate to place on your wall.