Soil Heath Protection: An urgent need for Summer “Ploughing”
The naturally available resource- “Soil” has got a crucial role in Agriculture because the growth, development and yield of any agriculture crop directly depends on the fertility of soil. A highly fertile and healthy soils give good support for the development of crop thereby giving higher yield. However, the availability of healthy soils is declining presently because of malpractices done by farming as well as the whole human community. According to survey, there is a need to make sure that 75 % of our soil is healthy by 2030, or else it may have adverse effect on agriculture and farming community as well. Hence, it is critical for farmers to take great care regarding the health of soil.
But without proper soil testing, most of the farmers are growing inappropriate crops by selecting unsuited crops for their land. Also, without having proper knowledge or information about the required nutrient for the soil to grow particular crops, farmers are going for irrespective application of fertilizers which is gradually depleting the major nutrients present in soil thereby making the soil unfertile/barren (not suitable for growing crops). Hence, before sowing any crops, farmers need to collect soil samples scientifically and get it tested to know the nutrient status of their soil and based on the results, they have to select crops for their farm and decide the amount of fertilizers to be applied.
Presently, with the increasing cost of chemical fertilizers, there is a need to apply only required fertilizers and deficient nutrients to the soil, which is profitable not only in terms of economy but also increases quality yield and even very much beneficial from the point of human and soil health.
The traditional farming practices such as “Ploughing” has got multiple benefits with which farmers can take highest and quality yield with less investment. During Summer farmers have to go for ploughing and preparation of their land for kharif farming (Rainy season). Ploughing will loosen the soil and once the monsoon starts, soil properly blends with rain water and become ready for sowing. With this traditional practice, farmers can go for non-toxic agriculture production thereby maintaining healthy soils and creating healthy environment and society.
Being an ancient agricultural activity “Ploughing” has got great significance in farming. However, nowadays farmers are neglecting this activity and affecting soil health making them to go barren. At the same time influencing human health because unhealthy soils cannot produce nutritious food.
Ploughing: Ploughing is a cost-effective ancient agriculture practice but having multiple benefits and could be practiced during pre-monsoon before rainy crop and after harvest of post-monsoon crops means during summer.
Advantages or Benefits of Ploughing
Positive impact on soil
The agriculture land which is prepared from summer ploughing, will spread out smoothly and finely once the monsoon rain starts and become easy for sowing crop. Ploughing loosens the soil by the process of frequent turning which makes the soil to observe the rainwater completely thereby increasing the groundwater level as well as maintaining sufficient moisture level in the soil since it allows the whole rainwater to drain into soil itself.
With all these good soil conditions and high moisture level the percentage of germination increases and makes the plants grow more stronger thereby contributing to high yield with good quality. Due to the loosening of the top layer of soil, the roots go more deeper into the soil and grow healthier, stronger ending up with best yields.
To withdraw the benefits of ploughing, to conserve soil, water and for harvesting rain water in the field, ‘Ploughing’ should be done across the slope in the field. In this way, the efficient use of ploughing could be achieved with less cost.
Ploughing will remove grassy weeds, sedges and other kinds of weeds from their roots which makes it easy to remove them completely from the field. This will help to avoid weeds during the initial stage of cropping itself. The time, cost and labour required for weeding could be reduced with ploughing. Hence, ploughing has got a very prominent role in weed management.
Control of insect pests and disease-causing pathogens
By practicing “summer ploughing” the pupae of insect pests and disease-causing pathogens of previous crop, present in the soil could be killed at their pupal stage itself by exposing them to bright sunlight. In this way, the invasion of pests and disease in the next crop could be avoided at low cost without investing on pesticides which reduces the overall cost of crop production, at the same time contributing to safe environment and healthy soils without any residue of chemical pesticides on crop as well as on soil.
Impact on natural and biological environment
The pupae of pests and disease-causing pathogens get exposed after ploughing will be picked and eaten naturally by stork and other birds with which the biological control of pests and diseases takes place thereby by maintaining healthy soil, safe environment and residue free food. In addition, it also helps to increase the biological activity in the soil.
Ploughing after crop harvesting, will quickly decompose the remaining crop residues and other wastes into the soil and supply best organic manure for the next crop. By incorporating crop residue and waste as organic manure into soil, the fertility status will increase and also improves soil productivity. In total, it will accelerate natural and biological processes in the soil and keeps soil healthy.
Ultimately it is in the hands of our farmers to conserve, develop and utilize the most vital natural resource of agriculture “Soil” by following ancient agriculture practices such as summer ploughing, other natural and biological process. Hence, farmers should supply balanced fertilizers to soil only after soil testing, then only the soil fertility and productivity means “Soil health” will be maintained continuously for long run. In addition, the low-cost farming technique of “ploughing” can increase yield thereby farmers can increase their farm income with less investment.
Dr. Asha, K.M.,
For more information kindly call on 8050797979 or give missed call on 180030002434 during office hours 10 AM to 5 PM
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