Methods for soil
No till farming leaves
soil up topsoil
• Soil conservation is a set of management
strategies for prevention
of soil being eroded from the Earth’s surface
or becoming chemically altered by
overuse, acidification, Stalinization, soil
erosion or other chemical soil contamination
to retain the fertility of soil.
Why is soil conservation
• Provide nutrients
• Recycle/filter water
• Stores water
• Soil is the basis of life on Earth
• Plants get nutrients from soil and
provide glucose & oxygen.
• Cover crops are “close-growing crops that provide
soil protection, seeding protection, and soil
improvement between periods of normal crop
• Use of mixed cover crops, including grasses and
legumes, increases the biomass return to the soil,
enhances activity of soil organisms, and improves soil
1. protecting soil against erosion,
2. improving soil properties,
3. enhancing soil fertility,
4. suppressing weeds,
5. fixing N,
6. increasing soil organic matter content,
7. increasing crop yields,
8. recycling nutrients,
9. preventing leaching of nutrients, and
10. improving water quality
• We all know that the roots of trees firmly hold on to
the soil. As trees grow tall, they also keep rooting
deeper into the soil. As the roots of the trees spread
deep into the layers of soil, they contribute to the
prevention of soil erosion.
• Soil that is under a vegetative cover has hardly any
chance of getting eroded as the vegetative cover acts
as a wind barrier as well.
Terraces: Terracing is one of the very good methods of soil
• In terrace farming make or form (sloping land) into a
number of level flat areas resembling a series of steps.
• Explanation: decreasing the slope by making it resemble
“steps” which are commonly found on the side of a
mountain or hill
• Types of crops: rice, cotton,
sugar cane, wheat, potatoes
• Popular in Eastern Asia
• reduces erosion
• Contour farming effectively reduces rate of erosion in
soils with slopes of up to 10%
• Holds rainwater which allows for the cultivation of
water intensive crops as mentioned before.
• Farmers use this technique because it allows for the
cultivation of water intensive crops in these areas
because it helps trap and hold rainwater
• No till farming leaves old material(stalks, cobs, leaves,
etc.) behind when planting new crops. The old plants hold
soil in place until new plants grow.
• When soil is prepared for farming by ploughing it, the
process is known as tiling. No-till farming is a way of
growing crops without disturbing it through tillage. The
process of tilling is beneficial in mixing fertilizers in the soil,
shaping it into rows and preparing a surface for sowing.
• Most prevalent in America (Eastern)
• This practice of farming across the slopes takes into account
the slope gradient and the elevation of soil across the slope.
• It is the method of tilling sloped land in order to conserve
rainwater, and with the help of furrows, crop rows, and wheel
tracks across the slopes.
• This method helps in slowing the water runoff and prevents
the soil from being washed away along the slope.
• Crops: corn, beans, or wheat
• Most prevalent in the United States (Great Plains Region)
• it reduces erosion & run off
• Helps preserve top soil and the minerals/fertilizers
used for growing the crops
• Farmers use it because it protects crops from violent
storms or heavy rains and preserves top soil
• Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar
types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons.
• Continuous cultivation of the same crop also leads to an
imbalance in the fertility demands of the soil. To prevent
these adverse effects from taking place, crop rotation is
• It is a method of growing a series of dissimilar crops in an area
• Planting three or more different crops before returning to the
original crop constitutes long-term rotations
1.reduce soil erosion,
2. improve soil properties,
3. increase organic matter content,
4. improve soil fertility,
5. increase crop yields,
6. reduce build-up of pests,
7. increase net profits,
8. improve wildlife habitat,
9. reduce use of chemicals, and
10. reduce water pollution.
• Intercropping is a multiple cropping system where two or
more crops are grown simultaneously on the same field
• Intercropping takes into account all beneficial interactions
between and among crops while creating possible negative
interactions caused by the neighborly effects.
• For example, plant species such as garlic and onion repel
certain insects and protect adjacent vegetables (e.g., tomato,
lettuce, carrot) from pest attacks provided that the
competition for light and water is negligible.
• Intercropping with legumes or deep-rooted plant species
absorbs nutrients from deeper soil horizons and reduces N
deficiencies among neighboring and succeeding non-legume
• Reduces erosion and vulnerability.
• Increases plant biodiversity to help disguise plants from
• Improves the overall health of crops and decreases
chance of disease.
• it minimizes pest problems and improves soil fertility
• The salinity of soil that is caused by the excessive
accumulation of salts, has a negative effect on the
metabolism of the crops in soil.
• Salinity of soil is detrimental to the vegetative life in the
soil. The death of vegetation is bound to cause soil
• Hence, salinity management is one of the indirect ways
to conserve soil.
• In this method Flushing soil & leaching salt away
• A windbreak (shelterbelt) is a plantation usually made
up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such
a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to
protect soil from erosion.
• They are commonly planted around the edges of fields
• If designed properly, windbreaks around a home can
reduce the cost of heating and cooling and save energy.
• Organisms like earthworms and others benefiting the
soil should be promoted.
• Earthworms, through aeration of soil, enhance the
availability of macronutrients in soil. They also
enhance the porosity of soil.
• The helpful organisms of soil promote its fertility and
form an element in the conservation of soil.
• The contamination of soil by addition of acidic or basic
pollutants and acid rains has an adverse effect on the pH
• Soil pH is one of the determinants of the availability of
nutrients in soil.
• The uptake of nutrients in plants is also governed to a
certain extent, by the soil pH.
• The maintenance of the most suitable value of pH, is
thus, essential for the conservation of soil.
Soil Conservation Policies
• In response to the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, the
US government increased support for soil
conservation and best practices for agriculture.
• Soil Conservation Service (SCS)
– Established in 1935 to work with farmers to develop
conservation plans for their farms.
• Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
– SCS was renamed the NRCS in 1994 – and water quality
protection was added to its responsibilities.
• Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
– Part of the 1985 Farm Bill, it pays farmers to stop
cultivating lands that erode easily and plant them
instead with trees and deep-rooted grasses.
• Well-designed cropping systems enhance soil fertility, reduce
soil erosion,and improve soil properties
• Management of cropping systems involves management of
tillage, crop residues, nutrients, pests, and erosion control
• Cropping systems include fallow systems, monoculture, strip
cropping, multiple cropping, contour strip cropping, crop
rotations, cover crops, mixed and relay cropping, and organic
• Appropriate choice of cropping systems is a strategy to
minimize environmental pollution.