admin | January 15, 2018
This week’s Farmer stories from Malawi and Zambia feature conservation agriculture. Our Script of the week is a Backgrounder that goes into more depth about two of the key practices in conservation agriculture: conservation tillage and soil cover.
Conservation tillage typically involves either making planting basins by hand, or using ox- or tractor-drawn tools called rippers. Details on both of these approaches are included in the Key information section of the backgrounder.
Using conservation tillage has the following benefits:
- Better maintenance of soil organic matter, resulting in improved soil fertility.
- Improved soil structure.
- Deeper root development because of increased earthworm activity and the roots of deep-rooting green manure plants.
- Reduced operating costs on the farm compared to conventional tillage, for example, reduced fuel costs.
Conservation tillage allows farmers to maintain soil cover. If you maintain a minimum soil cover on 30% of your land, the combination of conservation tillage and soil cover leads to the following benefits:
- Reduced soil erosion
- Reduced water run-off / loss of water
- Better water infiltration and storage in the soil
- Prevention of overheating of the soil surface
- More abundant soil life
- Reduced labour cost
Like all Backgrounders, this one is designed to provide you with basic information about particular practices, plus references for further, more in-depth information. It will also help you create programs on conservation agriculture.