Farmers aim at producing healthy food crops both on small scale and large scale. They therefore are mindful of the fertility of the soil in order to harvest more . Soil conservation is one step that protects the fertility of the soil. Healthy soil is important for plants to grow and flourish. Taking necessary steps to conserve the soil is part of environmentally friendly lifestyle. There are several ways to conserve soil that can be done through agricultural practices or measures. These soil conservation measures are as follows:
- Windbreaks – Rows of tall trees are used in dense patterns around the farmland and prevents wind erosion. Evergreen trees can provide year round protection but deciduous trees can be adequate as long as foliage is apparent during the seasons when the soil is bare.
- Soil Conservation Farming – A mixture of farming methods intending the mimic the biology of virgin land. These practices can be used to prevent erosion and even restore damaged soil and encourage plant growth. Eliminating the use of nitrogen fertilizer and fungicides can increase yields and protect crops from drought and flooding.
- Agrostological Measures – Planting grass in heavily eroded areas is called an agrostological measure. Ley farming practices cultivating grass in rotation with regular crops to increase the nutrient level in the soils. When the grass is harvested it can be used as fodder (food) for cattle. For heavily eroded soil it is recommended to grown grass for many years to let the soils naturally repair themselves.
- No till farming – This is the method of growing crops year round without changing the topography of the soil by tilling or contouring. This technique increases the amount of water that penetrates the soil and can increase organic matter of the soil which leads to larger yields.
- Earthworms – Earthworms provide great benefits of farm land due to the way they burrow under the ground and provide more are for water to rest after it has infiltrated the soil. When these worms excrete egesta, this sits in the soils and gives the crops many nutrients which are absorbed via the roots of the plants. Earthworm casts contain a vast amount more nutrients than any natural soil in the world, and for that reason should be invited into the soils of farmland to help prevent erosion and will lead to larger crop yields.
- Mineralization – To help crops reach higher yields or full potential, sometimes crushed rock or chemical supplements are added to the farmland, this helps combat mineral depletion. Normally used after flooding, it brings substantial amounts of sediment which can damage the nutrient level of the soil.
- Maintaining PH levels of soil – Contamination of soils due to acid rains and other pollutants can lead to loss of soil fertility. Use a PH indicator monthly to check the levels of acids in the soil and treat the soils with eco-friendly chemicals to prevent a loss of crops and low yields.
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