10 tips for soil conservation
Dear farmer friends, previously we already discussed the subject of soil conservation and we saw how the erosion and impoverishing of the soil represent a true problem for those who work in the agricultural sector like yourselves.
In order to have fertile and productive soils and to contribute to a sustainable environment, it is necessary to prevent erosion, taking care of our fields. How does that work? Well, here are 10 simple best practices you can adopt to prepare and preserve the land.
1. No-till farming
This farming technique provides that at the end of the season (after harvest) each plot of land is left “resting”. This allows natural herbaceous plants to grow without direct intervention on the field by agricultural vehicles. So, the soil can recover the organic substances needed for fertility. On the other hand, spontaneous herbaceous plants maintain the stability of the soil and protect it from the effects of erosion by water and wind.
This technique takes advantage of the natural inclination of the ground to slow the flow of water through a series of “grades”. This allows for a better management of soil and water, facilitating agricultural operations.
3. Contour farming
This technique provides for crop sowing not in vertical and parallel lines, but rather following the natural contours and shapes of the plot. Contour farming slows the flow of water along the land and prevents the effects of erosion.
4. Eliminating impermeable surfaces
Surfaces impermeable to water such as driveways, roads or asphalted areas allow the rain to flow and drain too quickly. This leads to rapid erosion of banks and ditches, streams and ponds. In order to eliminate this risk, you may choose to pave these areas with natural porous stone, instead of cement, so that the water can easily penetrate the underlying soil instead of flowing away.
5. Creating a rain garden
What’s that? A rain garden is none other than a ground that is slightly lower and ridged in relation to the rest of the area. The water tends to accumulate in these lots of depression with two positive effects: it does not flow away and, therefore, does not erode the soil it crosses. It also provides the ability to grow plants that require plenty of water or that grow in marshy areas.
6. Collecting rainwater
You can arrange a cistern to collect rainwater, for example at the edge of roofs. If left to flow freely, water can damage the soil and, therefore, collecting and storing it not only protects the soil but is also good for the environment: you can even use it for irrigation, reducing consumption and waste.
7. Planting windbreaks
Not only water, but also wind represents a serious menace that contributes to soil erosion. To prevent its effects you can plant some types of windbreak plants around the edges of your plot that reduce its speed, protecting the crops. Some examples? Try hedges with laurel, cypress, oak and poplars.
8. Restoring ponds and marshes
Small ponds and marshes form naturally in certain depressed areas of the ground, and many farmers tend to remove them and improve the areas in order to have more arable land. However, these areas can limit soil erosion; we have already seen that water accumulates in these areas and cannot erode the soil. In addition, these small ponds are the perfect habitat for small animal species, contributing to the biodiversity of the ecosystem.
9. Buffer strips
Buffer strips are certain types of plants, natural herbs and small bushes that enrich the banks of ditches. Their roots dig deep into the soil subject to erosion and the continuous action of flowing water, and they help to keep it compact and solid even in the event of large water flows or small floods.
10. Maintaining natural flora
The presence of large trees on the grounds is crucial to fight soil erosion. Plant roots create a dense network that form a sort of skeleton for the underlying soil making it less prone to erosion of possible landslides.
Each of these 10 tips contribute a little to maintain the soil and its resources intact over time, providing an answer to one of the most crucial problems in agriculture. In addition, when it is time to work the soil, don’t stop protecting it. Choose tires that are the least aggressive as possible in order to reduce compaction of the soil and preserve its integrity and productivity.
Do you want some suggestions? We can talk here.