Keeping the soil productive

Saturday November 16 2019

Michael J. Ssali

Michael J. Ssali 

By Michael J. Ssali

The way farmers use the land is important in soil conservation. Farmers plant crops in the soil to get food and to earn money by selling what they produce.
The soil is the place where crops are anchored and it is from the soil that crops get most of the nutrients needed for vigorous growth.
Good soil should have sufficient water; it should also have nutrients needed for plant growth, and some organisms that support breakdown of organic matter and aeration.
Since crop production heavily relies on the quality of the soil a prudent farmer must take trouble to safeguard it.
One way to promote soil health is to ensure that it stores rainwater since it has to be moist to support crop growth. The farm surface should have gullies and trenches to trap some of the running rain water.
Another way of keeping the soil moist is by covering it with grass, tree branches and leaves. They add nutrients to the soil when they rot. Running rainwater often carries away soil which is needed for growing crops.
It can also bring bad soil that is useless for agriculture to the garden and cover up good soil. It can also carry harmful waste like plastic material and glass into the garden.
The farmer should keep some livestock whose droppings can be used as manure to boost soil fertility in the garden. Farmed animals such as cattle, goats, and pigs must however be well fed which means the farmer should reserve some land for growing fodder grass and plants.
Some farmers grow fodder grass along gullies and trenches as a way of soil erosion mitigation.
Farmers should however seek expert guidance from agricultural service extension workers about how to apply organic manure in the garden especially now when we all required to mitigate climate change.
Scientists have warned that mindless usage and dependence on organic manures and compost results in the emission of two very potent global warming gases, methane and nitrous oxide.
We cannot be talking about soil health and at the same time forget factors that promote climate change.