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Soil Use

  • Maintain a farm soil map including information on soil profile and drainage, land use and historical productivity and understand effective and efficient soil use.

  • Avoid compaction.

  • Regular cultivation does reduce soil organic carbon level by oxidising. Try and improve organic carbon content of the soil gradually by incorporating organic residues or by zero tillage method. Presence of organic carbon improves soil structure which in turn improves soil moisture holding capacity and soil fertility. However, heavy introduction of undecomposed organic residues may demand more nutrients due to increased soil bacterial activity. This could lead to nutrient deficiencies in crops.

  • Cultivation also biologically oxidises soil organic nitrogen. Either under mixed-cropping (pastoral and cropping) or cropping systems cultivation does cause mineralisation of soil organic nitrogen which in turn leads to nitrate build-up and leaching. This can be minimised in cropping soils by ensuring low residual nitrogen levels after cropping or by boosting soil organic carbon levels gradually by incorporating crop residues or by zero tillage. In case of mixed cropping, consider zero tillage to take advantage of the high soil nitrogen.

  • Consider crop rotation as part of your commercial decision to minimise disease outbreaks and high pesticide use.

  • Maintain an active riparian margin to minimise sediment runoff.