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Agricultural Techniques


Green Manure and Cover Crops Green manure crops are crops that are [often times in North America] grown to be turned under to increase soil fertility. Leguminous green manure crops ( i.e., those which can make nitrogen fertilizers from atmospheric nitrogen) can offer small-scale Third World farmers a tremendous number of advantages, including: Agroforestry In simplest language, agroforestry is the production of trees and of non-tree crops or animals on the same piece of land. The crops can be grown together at the same time, can be grown in rotation, or can even be grown in separate plots when materials from one are used to benefit another. However, this simple definition fails to take into account the integrated concepts associated with agroforestry that make this system of land management possibly the most self-sustaining and ecologically sound of any agricultural system. Thus, a second definition of agroforestry would be the integration of trees, plants, and animals in conservative, long-term, productive systems. Agroforestry can be considered more as an approach than as a single, finished technology. Although several finished systems have been devised and tested, such technology may require adjustment for particular situations. The flexibility of the agroforestry approach is one of its advantages. echocommunity.org Agroforestry In simplest language, agroforestry is the production of trees and of non-tree crops or animals on the same piece of land. The crops can be grown together at the same time, can be grown in rotation, or can even be grown in separate plots when... Permaculture The word permaculture, coined by its co-founder Bill Mollison, is formed from the words “permanent” and “agriculture.” The concept of permaculture is difficult to explain in just a few words, because the term is used to describe (usually simultaneously) both a worldview/philosophy for living on the earth and a set of design principles and practices. Agroecology Agroecology is a scientific discipline, a set of practices and a social movement. As a science, it studies how different components of the agroecosystem interact. As a set of practices, it seeks sustainable farming systems that optimize and stabilize... Soil Life Understanding the types of soil present in a location and how to work with the soil to maintain and improve its biological potential is essential to sustainable food production.https://www.echocommunity.org/resources/7d5add7b-15be-4c92-9119-b9c7b65f4ad8 Composting FAO : Composting is the natural process of 'rotting' or decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms under controlled conditions. Raw organic materials such as crop residues, animal wastes, food garbage, some municipal wastes and suitable industrial wastes, enhance their suitability for application to the soil as a fertilizing resource, after having undergone composting. Compost is a rich source of organic matter. Soil organic matter plays an important role in sustaining soil fertility, and hence in sustainable agricultural production. In addition to being a source of plant nutrient, it improves the physico-chemical and biological properties of the soil. As a result of these improvements, the soil: (i) becomes more resistant to stresses such as drought, diseases and toxicity; (ii) helps the crop in improved uptake of plant nutrients; and (iii) possesses an active nutrient cycling capacity because of vigorous microbial activity. These advantages manifest themselves in reduced cropping risks, higher yields and lower outlays on inorganic fertilizers for farmers. echocommunity.org Composting FAO : Composting is the natural process of 'rotting' or decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms under controlled conditions. Raw organic materials such as crop residues, animal wastes, food garbage, some municipal wastes and suitable... Pest Control Insects and other pests can be a serious constraint to food production, especially where resources for pest management are scarce. For example, in EDN 133, we responded to a question about problems with tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) in Nigeria. Heavy infestations of this pest alone can reduce yields by 80 to 100% (Gebremariam 2015). The following resources continue an effort to strengthen our informational resources on pest monitoring and management. Crop Nutrition SRI SRI involves the use of a combination of management practices that optimize growing conditions for rice plants, particularly in the root zone. It was developed in Madagascar in the early 1980s by Father Henri de Laulaníe, a Jesuit priest who spent over 30 years in that country working with farmers. In 1990, Association Tefy Saina (ATS) was formed as a Malagasy NGO to promote SRI. Four years later, the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), began cooperating with Tefy Saina to introduce SRI around the Ranomafana National Park in eastern Madagascar, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development. It has since been tested in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and elsewhere with positive results. echocommunity.org SRI Resources SRI involves the use of a combination of management practices that optimize growing conditions for rice plants, particularly in the root zone. It was developed in Madagascar in the early 1980s by Father Henri de Laulaníe, a Jesuit priest who spent... Dryland Farming In every region of the world it is necessary to find or develop appropriate techniques for agriculture. A large part of the surface of the world is arid, characterized as too dry for conventional rain fed agriculture. Yet, millions of people live in such regions, and if current trends in population increase continue, there will soon be millions more. These people must eat, and the wisest course for them is to produce their own food. Yet, the techniques are so varied that only a very large volume would cover the entire subject. In many cases the most suitable techniques for a particular region may be those already developed by the local inhabitants. In some cases it will be difficult to improve on local techniques, but at times even simple and inexpensive innovations may be almost revolutionary. echocommunity.org Dryland Farming In every region of the world it is necessary to find or develop appropriate techniques for agriculture. A large part of the surface of the world is arid, characterized as too dry for conventional rain fed agriculture. Yet, millions of people live in... Conservation Agriculture Farmers in many parts of the world, because of human population growth, have little choice but to crop their land continuously, with scarce resources to replace nutrients withdrawn by each successive crop. Crop residues are often lost as a source of organic matter and mulch, usually through burning or by removal for animal feed or cooking fuel. Especially where nutrient reserves are already low, and topsoil is exposed to erosion, soils lose their capacity to sustain adequate crop yields. Additionally, extreme weather events, adverse changes in climate, human conflict, and sickness can all work against smallholder farmers’ abilities to sustain the productive capacity of their soils. Conservation Agriculture attempts to address these problems. Conservation agriculture (CA) is a resource-saving land management approach that optimizes and sustains the capacity of soils to produce food. In CA, sustainability is linked to the ecological preservation of agricultural landscapes. This is achieved through 1) minimal soil disturbance, 2) keeping soils covered, and 3) crop diversification. Implementing these three elements requires a combination of practices, for which there are many options. Thinking of CA as an overall system, rather than a fixed set of techniques, gives farmers and practitioners the freedom to evaluate and adopt a set of CA-related practices appropriate to local needs. echocommunity.org Conservation Agriculture Farmers in many parts of the world, because of human population growth, have little choice but to crop their land continuously, with scarce resources to replace nutrients withdrawn by each successive crop. Crop residues are often lost as a source of...
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