Ploughing is usually done after slashing and burning of vegetation residue and many farmers have been adopting this technology for years . However, these farmers a gradually coming to the realisation of the dangers the technology poses to the productivity of soils and the long term provision of food.
No-till becomes the proven alternative and sustainable substitute to realise improved soil production, long term food production and for the agribusinesses, a better way to manage cost of production.
What is no-till?
No–till farming (also called zero tillage or direct drilling) is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. (Wikipedia)
What is Slash, burn and plough?
This is where you clear the vegetation and set it on fire to burn and afterwards turn the soil with the aim of loosening it for farming purposes.
Now, let’s consider why we encourage No-till under conservation agriculture over Slash and burn and Plough. The points listed explains it.
|NO-TILL||SLASH, BURN AND PLOUGH|
|1||Maintains soils structure||Destroys soil structure|
|2||Crop residue covers the surface of soil||Soil surface left bare|
|3||Increase organic matter||Reduces organic matter|
|4||Enhanced soil organism activity||Beneficial soil organisms are destroyed|
|5||Soil is protected against erosion||Soils are exposed to erosion|
|6||Conserves soil moisture for plants’ use||Soil loses moisture rapidly|
|7||Maintains soils texture||Creates hard pan beneath the top soil with time|
|Farmlands can be used for longer periods of time with maintained fertility and structure||Farmlands, over time loses its quality to support plants growth|
|9||No ploughing reduces cost of production||Ploughing is a huge cost to production|
|10||Vegetative residue controls weeds||Bare land encourages weeds growth|
|11||Reduced or no chemicals required for weed control||Weed control is a major challenge therefore more chemicals are used|
|12||Effective against climate change||Total crop failure in prolonged dry period|
|13||It is highly sustainable||Not sustainable|
|14||Vegetation residue decompose to fertilize the soil||No vegetative residue|
|15||Less use of fertilizers or may not be necessary||Increased quantities of fertilizer must be used|
|16||Conserves nature.||Destroys nature|
|17||Reduces carbon emissions through greater sequestration of carbon dioxide by the soil||Increases carbon emissions.|
|18||Release of nitrous oxide (a dangerous greenhouse gas) is reduced||Increases the release of nitrous oxide|
|19||Controls runoff of contaminated water from used agro-chemicals into other water bodies due to increase water infiltration and retention||Encourages runoff of water|
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