Healthy Soils in Context of Food Security: Climate Change Scenario

Agriculture depends on healthy soils, and the growing global acknowledgment of the importance of soil management gives grounds for optimism. Healthy soils are essential for producing food, animal feed, fuel, and fiber as the world grapples with major concerns including population expansion and more frequent severe weather.

Four distinct strategies can improve soil health. Soil enrichment: cover the soil, only disturb it when absolutely necessary, and nurture plants all year. Some research suggests that crop rotations and cover crops can help diversify agricultural yields. Following these four criteria will increase soil health while cutting input costs, minimizing the danger of severe weather, and enhancing farm profitability. These four tactics are useful for many reasons, including: 2. Little disturbance preserves soil structure while increasing organic matter for plants and microorganisms.1. protects the soil from erosion by covering it.2. lessens water evaporation Growing plants all year can harvest solar energy, cover the soil, provide organic matter and nutrients, and support the establishment of soil living components. Insect cycles and soil-borne diseases can be fostered, and soil diversity can be improved by supplying a varied range of food. Animal manure improves soil health by feeding soil microbes and increasing organic matter content.

According to a recent study, continuous corn-corn cropping yields less organic matter and yield than corn-cover cropping. Crop rotation was compared to a system of corn, oats, wheat, and red clover to see which was more effective (covering 100 years of research). Longer rotations are advantageous to soil health and long-term soil productivity, whereas shorter rotations frequently result in higher agricultural profitability. When the top soil is eroded, the main constraint on productivity is a loss of water holding capacity. In such a system, chemical fertilisers are ineffective.

For example, adding farmyard manure increased organic matter more than adding NPK fertiliser, and employing cropping systems with legumes improved soil health more than planting maize continually. Research shows that high soil quality benefits many crops and environmental circumstances. Crop yields might drop suddenly if soil organic matter is not properly managed. In the absence of effective soil health management, crop yields may stabilise for a while before dramatically declining.

Keeping soil organic matter and top soil healthy improves soil water holding capacity and thus water use efficiency. When it rains, a lot of water stays in the soil instead of running off and eroding the surface. Using absorbed water for agriculture is a terrific use of the resource. Increased soil organic matter enhances the living soil component (soluable microorganisms) and hence improves the overall soil quality. It will have a major impact on soil health, ensuring decades of soil productivity. Adding and preserving soil organic matter will not only increase crop yields but also have a substantial impact on crop yields. If you plant cover crops in a crop rotation, you will witness an increase in soil fertility, organic matter, and soil microorganisms.

Cover crops minimise erosion, improve soil tilth, increase water infiltration, interrupt weed and disease cycles, capture nitrogen not used in previous crops, provide nitrogen for subsequent crops, and provide grazing for cattle. The long-term benefits to soil health and agricultural output, however, outweigh any short-term financial gains.

Improving soil health may help reduce climate change while also ensuring future generations have viable crops in the face of predicted weather extremes. Healthy soils are vital for food safety, food security, climate resilience, poverty alleviation, and global development.

To increase soil health, cropping systems with legumes outperformed continuous maize cultivation in a 100-year study on cropping systems and nutrition management. Soil quality is vital for many crops and ecosystems. While crop yields can be sustained for a while without proper soil care, crop yields rapidly decline when soil organic matter is not properly managed.

Healthy soil organic matter and top soil can enhance water efficiency by storing more water. Rainstorms hold a large amount of water in the soil rather than eroding it. Plants can absorb water and use it to grow crops. Increased soil tilth permits roots to better explore the soil, while increased soil organic matter benefits the soil’s living component (microbes) by improving soil quality and composition. Soil organic matter is added to and maintained to boost agricultural yields while enhancing soil health and preserving future soil productivity. Cover crops help preserve soil fertility while boosting soil organic matter and beneficial soil microbes.

Legumes as cover crops provide nitrogen for the following crop, livestock grazing, reduce erosion, improve soil tilth, increase water infiltration, and disrupt weed and disease cycles. Using farmyard manure benefits the soil and crops, even if it does not directly benefit the farmer.

Soil health enhancement may be a beneficial approach to mitigating climate change and guaranteeing future generations can produce crops profitably despite expected harsh weather. Healthy soils can help with food safety, food security, and climate change adaption.

Cover crops improve soil tilth and water penetration. Legumes also help prevent erosion, break up weed and disease cycles, collect nitrogen that was not used in the previous crop, and offer grazing for livestock and other animals. Short-term financial gains from manure use may not justify its use, but long-term advantages to soil and crop productivity outweigh the short-term financial gains.

Improving soil health may help reduce climate change while also safeguarding future crop viability in the face of projected weather extremes. Aside from food security, healthy soils can help with climate change adaption, poverty reduction, and global development.

Cropping methods with legumes improved soil health over a century of continuous maize growing, while adding farm yard manure increased organic matter more than using NPK fertilisers. Studies show that maintaining soil quality is vital for a variety of crops and situations. However, without sufficient soil maintenance, agricultural yields might be maintained for a short time, but then rapidly decline.

Maintaining soil organic matter and top soil boosts the soil organic matter’s potential to store water. When it rains, the soil retains large amounts of water rather than letting it runoff and cause surface erosion. Crops can be produced using the soil’s absorbed water. Growing soil organic matter improves soil tilth, allowing roots to better explore their environment, and increases the live portion of the soil (microorganisms), improving overall soil quality. Adding and preserving soil organic matter improves a soil’s ability to grow crops, as well as its health, ensuring future soil productivity.

 

Summary:

Agriculture depends on healthy soils, and the growing global acknowledgment of the importance of soil management gives grounds for optimism. Cover the soil, only disturb it when absolutely necessary, and nurture plants all year long. These four tactics will increase soil health while cutting input costs and mitigating the danger of severe weather. Keeping soil organic matter and top soil healthy improves soil water holding capacity and thus water use efficiency. Cover crops minimise erosion, improve soil tilth, increase water infiltration, interrupt weed and disease cycles, capture nitrogen not used in previous crops, and provide nitrogen for subsequent crops. Soil health enhancement may be a beneficial approach to mitigating climate change.

Healthy soils can help with food safety, food security, and climate change adaption. Using farmyard manure benefits the soil and crops, even if it does not directly benefit the farmer.

Authors: Dr. Rizwan Maqbool PhD (Canada) Assistant Professor Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture,Faisalabad. Bilal Ahmed Khan, College of Agriculture, UOS  Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ather Nadeem, College of Agriculture, UOS 

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