Keeping the soil covered throughout the year is a key practice for conservation agriculture. Its implementation on the farm has a number of benefits.
What are the benefits of implementing conservation agriculture on the farm?
✅ Soil protection from heavy rains, overheating and wind
✅ Prevents erosion and removal of the fertile layer
✅ Prevents the formation of a crust and water leakage
✅ Reduces pests (weeds, diseases)
✅ Increases the content of organic matter
✅Creates a favorable environment for the development of beneficial microorganisms
What are the main types of ground cover?
- Vegetable crops sown in the field
- Mulch or plant debris spread on the ground
The combination of the two systems is the best option to keep the soil always covered.
Plant residues left after harvesting are a good way to keep the soil covered. Crops that form a large vegetative mass (maize and sorghum) are preferred . Adding mulch from off-field sources (grass clippings or branches cut from trees and shrubs) is another way we can provide ground cover.
Sowing a cover crop during the growing season (between rows) or after harvesting the main crop is also a method preferred by farmers who are oriented towards sustainable agriculture. Applying this method is more difficult, especially in areas with low rainfall.
Whichever option you choose, it’s always better to have a ground cover than none.
For more information about soil health, you can contact our agronomists.