Monday, November 2, 2009

AGRICULTURE AND THE SOIL

AGRICULTURE AND THE SOIL
Agriculture makes use of the nutrients provided by the soil, and if these nutrients are not replaced, the soil will be impoverished.
Overcropping causes soil deterioration and may result from monoculture, multicropping without the requisite fertiliser input, and shifting cultivation.

Overgrazing will cause e~osion by destroying grass cover. Deforestation, either for marketing timber or for agricultural purposes, will cause soil erosion, especially on hill slopes.

Soil conservation and sound farming methods are required if agricultural practices are not to be environmen­tally degrading.

Contour ploughing, where ploughing is done at right angles to the hill slope, following the natural contour of the hill, will prevent water from flowing down the hill. Gullies are less likely to develop. Terracing, strip cropping, fallowing and cover-cropping (where cover crops are planted between young trees to protect soil), crop rotation, crop diversification and use of fertilisers help maintain soil health. Water management is equally important.

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