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Tips for improving the health of your soil

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Tips for improving the health of your soil

The condition and health of your soil will play a key role in the outcome of your crops. Soil consists of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Some good and some bad. In order to see which microorganisms your soil contains, you need to test your soil. Should you see that the condition of your soil is poor after undergoing a test, there are a few practices you can consider that will help to bring nutrients back into your soil.

 

Build your soil’s organic matter

Depending on where your farm is based, you might have trouble building the organic matter in your soil. The reason for this is due to the poor structure of soil available to you. Hot or dry climate conditions affect the health of your soil, decreasing the amount of moisture and the moisture holding capacity your soil experiences. A lack of rainfall also affects the nutrients in your soil because there are minimal minerals available for plants to feed off of. So, hold off on your planting plans and take time to improve your soil’s fertility. You can treat your soil with compost and manure, however, be careful with how much you use. Many farmers try to speed up the process but you need to be patient when building your soil’s fertility.

 

Use the right approach and tools

When you decide to do a soil test, you need to follow through with the correct procedure and protocol thereafter. Based on your test results, you will be able to learn everything you need to know about your soil and treat it accordingly. The pH and deficient nutrients you pick up in your soil can tell a lot about the approach you need to take, therefore analyse your test results and action your process accordingly.

Much like any issue, you need to be strategic about your solution in order to achieve the best possible results. Along with the correct approach, you need to make use of the correct tools and machinery, for example, a ripper agriculture machine to help you prepare your land for the upcoming harvest.

 

Plant cover crops

Cover crops are a popular organic approach to treating your soil and allowing minimum external factors to affect your soil. For example, the wind which leads to erosion, weeds and pests. Using mulch as your cover option is a common technique as it keeps the soil moist, provides the soil with the necessary microorganisms and, over time, it improves the overall soil structure of your ground. This is a major benefit as an improved soil structure will enable more water to move through the soil and help your crops to grow faster.

 

Pay close attention to the trouble area

It’s important to note how quickly weeds, bacteria and fungi grow in soil. If not monitored, you might face an infestation which will lead to further damage over a larger area. If you notice poor health or soil structure that may be affecting the health of your soil (and potential crops), remove the issue. You can remove it by using a ripper machine, allowing you to access a bigger area in a shorter period of time.

 

Rotate your crops regularly

Each set of crops requires different nutrients to be healthy. It is highly recommended that you plant crops that complement one another, and rotate your crops every harvest period. The reason for this is that it will give your soil a break without depleting certain soil nutrients in that particular area. If you do deplete nutrients, your next harvest is going to be off to a slow start. Or you may have to harvest poor-looking crops which will be dumped. This wastes your money and time, so be strategic about your crops.

 

Till in a more controlled manner

There is a negative perception about tillage on farms as it could lead to further soil erosion, however, if you till in moderation it will reduce the amount of soil erosion caused if you do not till at all. This catch-22 technique offers both pros and cons, but when done in a controlled manner you will be able to revive your soil and help the soil to breathe if moisture is trapped from your cover crops. When you start to prepare your soil to be able to till it, depending on the area, you can use a ripper tillage machine to remove any rocks in the soil and smoothen it out for the better. It is recommended that you do not till the entire area, and rather implement a strip tillage approach as this will allow you to monitor tilled and non-tilled land. The type of farming equipment and tools you make use of can also affect the soil and break its walls.

 

Improve soil drainage

Especially if you’re making use of cover crops, you need to provide sufficient drainage systems for your soil so that it doesn’t have to live in a soggy environment. Giving your soil the necessary drainage and air will improve the oxygen in the soil and reduce any soil-compaction problems that may affect your crops’ roots.

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