MAINTAINING SOIL FERTILITY

By Albert Makendenge

Soil fertility refers to the ability of the soil to sustain agricultural plant growth which usually happens in the absence of toxic substances which may inhibit growth and obviously in the presence adequate moisture and essential nutrients. Fertility is the ability of the soil to provide a healthy plant habitat and result in sustained and consistent yields of high quality. Below are some farming methods and activities which can be very helpful in maintaining and sustaining healthy soils.

  • Mulching and cover crops

This is the process of covering bare soil with organic material and it helps the soil to retain moisture for a little longer than usual. It also provides a suitable environment for micro-organisms to thrive and soil erosion will definitely be reduced. Cover crops also play pretty much the same roles as their leaves provide organic matter and their roots help to bind the soil to prevent erosion.

  • Minimum tillage

This simply means goes about his planting operations with very minimal or little disturbance to the soil. This way the structure of the soil is not weakened over time which might leave it prone to soil erosion and the time spent on land preparation is also reduced

  • Soil testing

This practice of soil sampling and testing will help the farmer to know exactly what nutrients are required by their farmer. Having in mind the soil type and its nutrient capabilities will help one to know what kind of crops to grow and kind of pest to use during pest and disease control.

Conclusively, in order to achieve increased food production, a farmer needs to invest in soil health since all life depends on the soil. Better soil conditions equals better growth and development as well as better yields.

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