5 Farming Practices and their effects on the Soil

Farming Practices
Farming Practices

This article is about different farming practices and their effects on the soil. It also explains the economic importance of some of these farming practices.

Several government laws have been enacted against some farming practices. While some have been utmost praised. No matter which one the activities we will be listing below falls, as a farmer you would have gone through one.

Let’s just say this article will be peculiar to the effect of farming practices in West Africa. The effects of this farming activity on the gifts of nature to the west African lands will be discussed in this article. Just follow along because you might not know the effects of anything you are doing on your farm and how disturbing it can be to the ecosystem. 

List of popular farming practices

The following are some of the most common farming practices in agriculture;

  1. Bush Burning
  2. Fertilizer Application
  3. Overgrazing
  4. Continuous Cropping
  5. Organic Manure

Farming Practices and their effects on the Soil

These are some of the economic importance of some farming practices in agriculture.

1. Bush Burning:

This involves the setting of bushes on fire by farmers who want to clear out vegetation and unlikely bushes. However, they don’t know how bad that can be even if it is helping them to clear the land faster and easily.  

Economic importance of bush burning

1. It destroys organic matter and reduce the humus content of the soil

2. It destroys pathogens that live in the soil and transmits disease in the plants from the soil.

3. It destroys seeds of unwanted plants that might grow in your plants later on. When you clear bushes, weeds stay but with burning they disappear.

4. It reduces the population of organisms living in the soil. In that area of land, many organisms would migrate and look for a way to survive in the hot air around them

5. It reduces soil moisture as well, therefore reducing the amount of water reaching the plants level.

6. Facilitates the growth of dry crops or crops that have a pause in growth due to dry seasons.

7. It destroys the soil structure and the soil texture, therefore, resulting in an irregular topography of the land.

8. It exposes the soil to erosion and washing down of the soil nutrients and minerals to where the root can’t get to.

2. Fertilizer Application

Another common one is the application of appropriate chemicals and fertilizers that stimulates growth. Everyone is well aware of the impact of fertilizers on the growth of plants. However, the effect on soil is not spoken about.

Economic importance of fertilizer application

1. This enhances the productivity of the soil

2. This also helps with the irregularities of the soil micro and macro minerals

3. Soil acidity is one of the causes of excessive use of fertiliser. 

4. When the PH of the soil is becoming acidic, some plants will not survive and it might be that crop you are cultivating presently. Therefore there is a reduction in yield.

5. Soil organisms get affected when you apply too many fertilizers to them. This would result in what you can not even think of. 

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Picture Credit: Matt Palmer 

3. Overgrazing:

 In Africa, this is the main topic that should be focused on. Overgrazing is the situation where too many animals – cattle are left to graze on a certain land that can not contain their feeding capacity. This is an issue that deserves a lot of attention even if it has its special qualities.

Economic importance of Overgrazing 

1. Eradication of weeds that might be trapped on that land. These weeds might be somehow hidden but overgrazing brings this up since there is a competition for feed amongst these animals.

2. Organic manuring of the soil occurs from the faces of these animals.

3. Overgrazing destroys soil structure even if it loosens the soil as well.

4. It opens the soil to erosion and flooding such that a proportional quantity of sand will be wiped out. 

5. Poor growth occurs on a farm where grazing occurred. Perhaps it might be an error but we have experienced situations where these animals will graze on another person’s farm and those plants would result in tinted poor growth later on.

6. Finally, there is a loss of fertility in the soil.

4. Continuous Cropping

When it gets to a stage of farming, a farmer must try to diverge in livestock which might replenish the lost nutrients of the soil. However, many people do not see this. Continuous cropping is just the growing of crops on the same piece of land without the thought of replenishing the lost nutrients. Maybe by fertiliser application, bush fallowing or any other available means.

Economic importance of fertilizer application

1. Different crops have been grown on that land over the years. Such that they can all help to rotate the nutrienstvinstaed of one crop taking particular nutrients over the year.

2. Cultivating crops on a piece of land for years will destroy a lot of nutrients and minerals when it comes to that land.

3. Multiplication of pest and disease is reassuring since these pest and disease-causing organisms want to leave in part that existence that always is felt and they can always be close to their foods.

4. their yield will become lower as time goes on. Output or profits from the 2nd year of farming will be less than that in the first year of farming

5. Organic Manure

This is the application of manure from plants and animals on a piece of land to replenish lost nutrients. These organisms used as manure might be dead and left to decompose for a while. 

Economic importance of organic manure to the soil

1. This helps to replenish lost nutrients in the soul. So, if you have been practising continuous cropping, this is a place to decide on.

2. With organic measuring, soil erosion and leaching are things that are less likely to affect the soil

3. When manures are added to the soil, there is a probability of pathogens to follow such that they will start living in the soil. They will multiply and finally affect crops.

4. Improper or inadequate use of these can be another issue to plants growing on the soil.

5. The soil structure and texture is improved once the humus content is improved as well. This manure is a source of nutrients to the soil. 

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About the author


Israel Otoijamun is the founder of Ofarms.Co and PrintLab Studio.

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