Did you know soil has its own doctor? It’s the farmer! In the same way doctors make sure people are healthy, it is a farmer’s mission to make sure their soil is healthy.
Thousands of American farmers and ranchers rise each day to grow a safe, sustainable food supply, while caring for the land so it can be bountiful for future generations. In order to meet human demands for the production of food, farmers lead the way in conserving water and healthy soil. Here are just four ways these “soil doctors” aim to prevent damage and maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Crop rotation is also a way to keep soil healthy. This is when farmers plant different crops in the same field over the course of different seasons or years. It’s beneficial because certain plants take nutrients from the soil while others add nutrients. This keeps the land fertile because not all the same nutrients are used with each crop.
Some farmers choose conservation tillage such as minimum-till or no-till because these methods leave crop residue on the ground to help keep the soil from blowing away. This blanket of residue holds moisture in the soil instead of allowing it to evaporate away.
Cover crops can be planted any time of the year, but typically after the main crop is harvested. They then grow until the next crop is ready to be planted. These crops are grown to cover, protect and enrich soil. This helps slow erosion, control pests and ensures that water and nutrients are where they should be.
When using buffer zones, farmers plant strips of vegetation between fields and bodies of water such as streams and lakes to keep soil in place. This also helps protect crops from contaminants from other fields.
It takes great effort to build a more sustainable future, and taking care of soil is one of many things farmers do to make sure of that. This can look different to different farmers depending on types of soil and the climate. Farmers practice a host of conservation practices every day – these are just a few ways these “soil doctors” do it!