With the rapidly increasing human population, experts predict that farmers will need to produce 56 percent more food to feed the over 10 billion people. This additional food will have to come from the same area of agricultural land that is present today. Or even less, going by the rate at which agricultural land is being converted for commercial and residential use. Now, the biggest challenge in front of our scientists and agriculturists is that they have to increase the production efficiency of land and reduce cost.
Providing sufficient food to the rapidly growing population, various measures have been adopted by the farmers. They are using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to get huge output from the crops. However, these results are for the short term as the benefits from these chemicals are not very eco-friendly. The fertility of agricultural land and nutrients of food grains and vegetables are being deteriorated due to the excess use of chemicals. The detrimental effects are also being seen on human health. They contaminate the land and underground water, which harms ecosystems. Now, we are facing two problems:
- Production of required food to feed the human population
- Protection of the environment
Eco-friendly agriculture is the only solution to these two problems. Eco-friendly agriculture is an integrated approach to cropping systems management through the application of results of scientific research that may be a way for sustainable use of resources (more by the link).
Sincere efforts are needed on balanced fertilization and integrated nutrient supply systems, including:
- Crop rotation
- Organic manure
- Bio-fertilizer crop residue
- Proper cropping system approach
- Weed pest disease management
- Low-cost technology
- Post-harvest technology
- Social and environmental sustainability
This is done to adopt proper resource management for eco-friendly crop production.
Not long ago, end-consumers were just interested in the food that was in front of them. However, that has started to change. People are now interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it is made. So, let us look at some of the farming techniques that produce our food:
A good crop rotation can help to prevent crop damage by pests and diseases while also increasing and maintaining soil health. Besides preventing pests and diseases, it plays a major role in soil fertility and structure. So, what is Crop rotation? It is a planned order of growing specific crops on the same field, and the succeeding crop belongs to a different family. In order to press soil-borne diseases and nematodes, a rotation can be kept very simple. However, the more diverse, the more benefits can be utilized under the precondition that you know how to rotate crops effectively. So, each specific crop is used in the right sequence and ratio. To design an appropriate crop rotation, it is important to understand the underlying processes and follow the right steps.
The crop rotation history is very vital, especially when someone wants to purchase a new field. For this, they can use EOS Crop Monitoring to get satellite crop rotation analytics. The platform has lots of vegetation indices together with NDVI that can show the field state and productivity. The buyer needs to know the historical data to understand the field’s potential productivity. It will also help them choose a suitable crop to grow within the area. Users can add new seasons in the “Edit Field” settings found in the Monitoring section. There, they can choose different crop types from a broad list. EOS Crop Monitoring allows users to keep all field records in one central hub, which can be reviewed whenever needed. So, farms can easily check the rotation crop patterns.
Soil solarization works by heating up soil covered with a clear plastic tarp to temperatures lethal to a wide range of soil-borne microorganisms like fungi and nematodes. This technique is ecologically friendly and works well in very sunny conditions. Solarization can be done on a flat piece of land or raised area.
The first thing to do is prepare the soil as you would for planting, cleaning off debris, breaking up the soil, and leveling it so that the plastic can lie snugly against the soil producing fewer air pockets. Then, you can wet the soil because wet soil conducts heat better than dry ones. Once this is one, irrigate the soil to about 13 inches deep. Next, select clear plastic that is about 2mm thick with UV protection. Now, over the soil, you want to treat it with plastic to ensure that it is air-tight.
Allow 4 – 6 weeks of soil heating. This is usually sufficient to control most pests in the top layers of the soil. After this, remove the plastic, and you are good to go.
The philosophy behind permaculture is that it gives people the set of tools to redesign and rethink their communities so that they can live seamlessly with the natural world. The idea is to work with rather than against nature in order to grow food. Permaculture bolsters not only the health of land but also its users. In doing so, the concepts and practices of permaculture build communities that are adaptable to changing climates.
Permaculture is all about building relationships with the environment that supports us. Through these relationships and a positive approach to change, agriculture seeks to build resilient cultures and communities. At the core of permaculture are people care, earth care, and fair share. Earth care and people care in their simplest forms are concerted efforts to nurture natural environments and surrounding communities in your everyday actions.
This is a form of intercropping that combines agricultural, pastoral, and forestry elements in one area. The forestry elements can be different types of woody perennials such as trees and shrubs. Interactions between trees and crops or livestock are important at different scales in the fields, on farms, and at the landscape level. In addition, the durability and reliability of tools and equipment such as that supplied livestock equipment Canada are significant for productive farming and forestry.
Trees can be arranged in rows, grids, contours, or dispersed randomly. We broadly distinguish Agri-Silvi-cultural systems that combine trees with crops and silvopastoral systems that combine trees with livestock. If all three elements, trees, crops, and animals, are combined, we call it an agro-silvopastoral system.
Aquaponics & Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a common method for growing plants that rely solely on chemical nutrients and water. Plants are grown without the use of soil. This is the most popular method for growing lettuce and tomatoes in the US. Although there are many different benefits to using this method, it is widely used because the results are consistent and have the ability to produce high yields. It involves growing plants whose roots are suspended directly in a nutrient-rich water-based solution.
On the other hand, aquaponics is a growing method that involves growing fish and plants in the same space. The waste from the fish is converted directly into nitrates by the bacteria in the surrounding area. These nitrates are used as plant foods until the remaining water is returned to the fish.
This is the process of growing plants without the use of toxic chemicals such as synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. These harmful chemicals eventually get into the air and water, which causes pollution. The practice of organic farming has been increasing in popularity over the years. This is because many people have become cautious of the food they eat and how it is made.