There are only a few processes that consume as many environmental resources as agriculture does. Farming is a resource-intensive process that utilizes a huge amount of power and water. Thus it is fairly dependent on a number of environmental as well as economic factors. The recent years have given rise to environmentally friendly farming methods being introduced in agriculture. These processes make consumption of resources more efficient.
A guide on how to do environmentally friendly farming
Usage of organic fertilizers:
Organic fertilizers manufactured in-house is one of the most useful ways for a farm to start farming organically. This can be done by using only nutrients optimal to promote crop growth. These methods include the making of compost, incorporating the process of mulching and usage of bio-fertilizers. These biologically obtained ingredients are packed with natural nutrients and do not harm the environment. This also includes incorporation of processes such as vermicomposting.
This leads to more eco-conscious agriculture processes being incorporated in the farms. Manure obtained from animals can also be used as a bio-fertilizer instead of compost. This would ensure the implementation of more environmentally friendly farming techniques in agriculture.
Upgrading old technologies to new eco-friendly technologies
As a result of technological improvements, there has been an alteration of farming practices. The new machineries use lesser power and produce lesser pollution than the previously used machineries.
Hence, the first criteria for going green with your farm would be to use these improved machinery in agricultural practices. The only negative impact is that the initial costs associated with the change might be considerable. But in the long run, the result of making such a change is only positive.
Opting for used machinery rather than buying new ones:
The possibility exists that a farmer might not have the monetary resources required for shifting to greener agriculture. In such a scenario, it might be a better option for him to purchase already-used machinery. The alternative to this scenario is to go for cheaper equipment which cause more harm to the environment.
Every piece of equipment is manufactured through a process which utilizes raw materials and energy. Opting for refurbished machinery lowers the impact that manufacturing new machinery might have on the environment. This would lead to a reduction in the overall pollution levels. In the long run, this might force the producers to produce more affordable yet eco-friendly machinery. This is one of the most important eco-agriculture tips as it is related to recycling.
Creation of Biodiesel from oilseed plants
Biofuels are fuels generated from renewable sources of energy such as plant biomass and vegetable oils. Some eco-agriculture tips would be for farmers to cultivate these Biofuels on their own land. Oilseed plants can be planted and cultivated on a farmland to generate Biodiesel which is a greener form of energy.
A farmer already has a huge area of land at his disposal. In such a situation, it would be fairly easy for him to plant and harvest oilseeds. For big farms, it would actually be a very prudent economic manoeuvre. Vegetable oils such as canola and sunflower oils can easily be manufactured on the land and harvested.
Although the precise time of harvest and extraction is important, the process is fairly simple. Due to the practice of environmentally friendly farming, there is a reduction in fossil fuel consumption.
Using manure obtained from animals as fuel:
Manure obtained from animals is another source of energy that can be used to facilitate eco-conscious agriculture. If you plan on going green with your farm, this is one of the most cost-effective ways to practise agriculture. Most farms have their own herds of livestock which they rear on the farm grounds. The droppings from these animals can serve as raw material for fuels.
Manure obtained from livestock can be dried and used as fuel. This is possibly one of the most antiquated methods of generating energy. Controversies surrounding this method speak about the amount of air pollution generated as a drawback.
In recent times, due to the advancements in technology, more efficient ways of burning fuel have been discovered. This has led to a better utilization of resources by shifting to renewable sources of energy from non-renewable sources.
Use of technology to regulate usage of resources to facilitate environmentally friendly farming
Another way to promote eco-conscious agriculture would be to promote the usage of sensors in agriculture. Technology has become so powerful these days that a little investment can reduce agricultural costs drastically.
The usage of sensors to control the use of agricultural resources is a novel concept. These sensors detect the concentration of nitrogen in the soil. When the concentration is lower than a certain level, the sensors detect a need to sprinkle fertilizer. Then the machine itself applies the fertilizer to bring the concentration back to normal levels.
Implementation of automation not only reduces labour costs, but also reduces concentration of harmful chemicals in soil. In the same way, there exist similar machinery to detect and adjust moisture levels in soil as well. This usage of automation will not have immediate effect, but in the long run will ensure sustainable farming conditions.
Crop rotation and weed management practices
Since organic farming is dependent on natural soil of good quality, crop rotation becomes extremely important. Rotation of crops is essential for maintaining the balance of nutrients in the fields. Various crops consume various different nutrients and the rest is left behind. The process of crop rotation helps to counteract against the selective depletion of nutrients in the soil.
Crop rotation also becomes essential in order to decrease pressures on the soil arising from different factors. Some of these factors include weeds and insects. Planting trap crops between the primary crops keeps the soil nourished and helps to avoid soil erosion.
Weeds can also reduce yields and consume resources meant for crops. Hence weed control is an additional measure that can be used for ensuring environmentally friendly farming processes. The processes include manual weeding, mechanical weed control and thermal control processes instead of using synthetic pesticides.