10 Best Farming Methods
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The agriculture industry supplies us with food and jobs. In 2020, the industry contributed $1.055 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product. That’s why we need to establish good practices. Plus, there is a push towards suitability to protect future generations. So, here are some of the best farming methods.
1. Try Agroforestry
It involves the intentional plating of trees with crops to create environmental benefits. Agroforestry helps control the temperature and the exposure to sunlight and wind.
This can protect the crops or livestock. It is one of the best farming methods for producing various products, such as food and timber. Some other advantages of agroforestry include improving the soil and storing carbon. It can also restore nitrogen fertility in the ground.
2. Consider Crop Rotation
Crop rotation is when you grow different crops on the same land, depending on the season. This method has many advantages, including preserving the soil and reducing pests. Crop rotation also reduces our reliance on chemicals that pollute the oceans. Try to plant vegetation within the same family.
Here are a few of the major families:
- Alliums: These consist of onions, shallots and garlic.
- Legumes: Some plants include green beans, green peas and peanuts.
- Brassicas: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale are standard members of this family.
- Nightshades: Common vegetation in this group include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes.
3. Incorporate Intercropping
This is where you grow more than two crops at the same time. Often resources are not appropriately utilized by just a single crop. So, this is one of the best farming methods to produce a greater yield. These crops are cultivated in a sequence of growing seasons. This technique improves biodiversity and fumigates the soil. Therefore it helps pest management and prevents weed growth.
There are a few different ways of intercropping, such as:
- Mixed Intercropping: The mixed crops are cultivated on the same land for this method.
- Row cropping: As the name implies, the crops are grown in multiple rows.
- Temporal intercropping: This is when the fast-growing crop is harvested before the slow-growing crop matures.
4. Invest in Polyculture Farming
Polyculture systems grow multiple plants of different species in the same plot. It helps to improve biodiversity, especially for communities adaptable to climate variations. There are various types of polyculture, like cover cropping, permaculture and integrated aquaculture.
This farming method has many benefits, like controlling weeds and pests without chemicals. Chemicals from runoff water can pollute our drinking water and harm marine animals. It also reduces soil erosion, improves soil quality and produces stable yields.
5. Use Natural Resources Through Water Harvesting
This eco-friendly method collects and stores rainwater you can use for agricultural purposes. You can gather the liquid from the roof’s surface and keep it in a well. To catch the water, rain barrels are an easy solution. During the monsoon season, some framers collect water for streams to use in times of drought. Repurposing the water also prevents the risk of water scarcity.
You can also use water harvesting to care for livestock. Some homeowners use it to water their gardens or reduce demands on wells. Commercial properties, like schools and hospitals, could even implement this method.
6. Try Permaculture
This system uses intentional design strategies to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Some of the common tactics include:
- Growing gain without tillage
- Herb and plant spirals
- Mandala gardens
- Sheet mulching
- Having plants serving multiple purposes
The main goal is to mimic how plants function in natural ecosystems. So, there is a mix of perennial crops, nut trees and shrubs that work together. The benefit of this system is it saves money and reduces our carbon footprint.
7. Plant Cover Crops
Many farmers have crops planted all season long. However, this can impact the soil. Instead, using cover crops can protect the mulch during the off-season. They also prevent soil erosion, suppress weed growth and enhance the dirts quality. Plus, this method reduces the need for fertilizers. This saves money and protects the environment. In addition, the coverage slows the spread of runoff water.
Here are a few different kinds of cover crops:
- Red clover
- Crimson clover
8. Look Into Natural Pest Predators
It’s essential to view the farm as a whole ecosystem. For example, many birds are natural predators of agricultural pests. So, you can raise these predators to help manage your bug problems. It’s also a cost-effective solution that limits the use of chemical pesticides. Do research to figure out the natural killers for your most grown plants.
Here are a few natural enemies of pests to add to your farm:
9. Look Into Bio Intensive Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) relies on biological instead of chemical methods. Crop rotation is also a popular method for IPM. Once you identify a pest problem, a chemical solution is the last option, like fertilizers.
Instead, you would use sterile males and biocontrol agents such as ladybirds. These are better for the environment and one of the best farming methods for sustainably.
10. Use Biodynamic Farming
Biodynamic practices focus on composting, using manure from livestock and cover cropping. Crop rotation is also used to generate healthy soil for food production.
These methods can also be applied to home gardens or even vineyards. The benefits of biodynamic farming include reduced soil erosion and increased crop growth.
The Best Farming Methods
Many farming methods have grown in popularity over the years. These focus on reducing waste and increasing efficiency. So, consider adding some of these techniques to increase your next yield.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.