When it comes to modern farming, sustainability can be quite complex. There’s a lot to unpack, including the fact that a sustainable farm should be a profitable business that contributes to a robust economy. Social and environmental aspects must also be seriously inspected to ensure a farm is being as sustainable as possible.
Environmental sustainability in farming means good upkeep of the natural systems and resources that farms rely on. This involves:
Building and maintaining healthy soil
Managing water wisely
Minimizing air, water, and climate pollution
Here, we’ll talk a little more about how modern farms can be more sustainable. Read on to learn more:
Making Use Of Renewable Energy Sources
Finding alternative energy sources should be the first and most important practice of any farm.
Look at things like solar, hydro-power or wind-farms to become more ecology friendly. Farmers can use solar panels to store solar energy and use it for essential things like electrical fencing and running of pumps and heaters.
Then, things like running river water can be a source of hydroelectric power and can be used to run the various pieces of equipment and machines on farms. Geothermal heat pumps can also be used by farmers to dig under the earth and can take advantage of the earth’s heat. There are so many ways farms can make use of renewable energy sources, that there’s simply no excuses for not doing it.
Rotating crops is a form of embracing diversity. By planting a number of crops you’ll notice many benefits, from healthier soil to better pest control. Intercropping, for instance, means growing a mix of crops in the same area. Then, there are multi-year crop rotations which are a little more complex but definitely still doable.
On the subject of crops, planting cover crops can help you to build soil health. Cover crops such as clover are planted during the off season, when soil may have otherwise been left bare. By planting these types of crops you’ll prevent erosion, replenish the nutrients in the soil, and keep weeds at bay. You’ll also reduce the need for any herbicides because of this.
Reducing And Eliminating Tillage
Tillage refers to traditional plowing, and this is what prepares your fields for planting and prevents weed problems in the long run. However, this method can actual cause much soil loss.
Reduced till methods involve inserting seeds directly into undisturbed soil, and in turn doing this can reduce erosion and improve your soil health.
Working with Sustainable Vendors And Suppliers
You likely also work with vendors and suppliers when it comes to things like purchasing feed for your animals/crops, so ensuring you work with sustainable vendors like Agron who are also doing their bit to reduce their impact, you’ll create an even more sustainable business.
IPM is integrated pest management, and there are a range of methods for integrating this into your processes. Mechanical and biological controls can be used and applied systematically to keep pest populations under control as you simultaneously reduce your use of chemical pesticides.