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Are burning crop residues and grass good for soil health and fertility? Views from a farmer and an agricultural researcher

This week’s story on bush fires suggests that, while deliberately set and controlled fires can be beneficial, out of control bush fires can cause serious and long-lasting damage. Yet many farmers continue to use bush fires to clear land, and opinions are divided on whether the practice is useful or necessary.

In this week’s script, we hear the views of a farmer and an agricultural research on the issue of burning crop residues. Crop residues are the remains that are left over after the plant or crop has been put to use. The farmer sees that burning residues makes her farming work easier. Burning controls weeds and pests, and improves yields in the season after burning. On the other hand, the agricultural researcher says that, over the long-term, burning destroys the soil. It causes increased soil erosion; it kills beneficial soil organisms, and eventually causes lower yields.

http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/package-91-soil-health/are-burning-crop-residues-and-grass-good-for-soil-health-and-fertility-views-from-a-farmer-and-an-agricultural-researcher/ [1]