Do you know you can actually have a high yield without adding fertilizer or any soil amendments to your soil?
Naturally, the soil you are cultivating is endowed with the necessary nutrients for any crop growth. All you need to help the soil perform to its potential are good cultural practices. Cultural practices in agriculture play prominent roles in helping farmers earn hugely in their farm business. They are the best ways of reducing the cost of production.
What are the cultural practices in agriculture?
Cultural practices are sets of activities carried out at low cost aimed at providing an enabling environment for plant growth. They are types of pre-planting and post-planting activities. These cultural practices serve multiple purposes, ranging from crop pest management to soil nutrient replenishment.
During the decision-making stage of crop production, where you decided on the type of crop, when and how to plant, you are expected to list out series of activities to be carried out on your farm, right from the first day you establish your farm, to the planting till harvesting. All these details are supposed to be documented in a document called work plan.
In this work plan, you are expected to list out likely problems to encounter in the cause of your cultivation. Problems like pest attack, crop failure, disease emergence, even theft. All these must be forecasted with likely solutions to prevent or mitigate them as they emerge. The measures or events to mitigate these challenges naturally are called cultural practices.
Types of cultural practices in agriculture
There are different types of cultural practices that can be adopted in agriculture; they are meant to enhance the well-being of your crops and ultimately give you a reasonable yield. Irrespective of your system of cultivation, organic or inorganic, these types of cultural practices will greatly improve your practice.
Selection of healthy seeds:
Not just a seed, but a healthy one. How do you know a healthy seed? Go to research institutes like IITA or certified agro-allied companies to get your seeds or planting material. The success or failure of a farm enterprise starts with the seeds or planting material. A healthy seed is a certified seed that is free from pathogen and capable of germinating at the predetermined period; such seed will boost your confidence and ascertain your profit.
I started at the beginning of this article that some cultural practices in agriculture can help replenish the soil nutrient. Yes, it is not soothsaying. I have practically done this in my vegetable farm and I found it very cheap and useful.
I need to inform you that an idea soil, virgin soil, has a balanced nutrient composition fit for any crop considering your ecological environment, either tropical, temperate or humid. However, activities of man render the nutrient composition of the soil imbalanced. As you crop on land, the fertility of the soil reduces; you can replenish the soil fertility through bush fallowing.
The aim of bush fallowing is to allow the soil harnesses its lost nutrients through the various biological activities within it, thus, becoming productive again. This is manifested in form of bushes or vegetation that will be naturally established after some period without enhancing it.
Dry season ploughing
Ploughing is the art of land preparation techniques; it involves the manipulation of the soil to expose hidden pest and pathogens within the soil. Ploughing during the dry season has lots of benefits; it allows adequate eradication of pests and pathogen.
This is because pest pathogens reside very close to the earth and not really deep as seen during the wet season because of the nature of the soil. As you plough during this period, you are exposing these pests to unfavorable conditions alien to their nature, hence, they would die as a result of desiccation. Dry season ploughing is one of the best ways of controlling pests.
Use of resistant varieties
This is the most feasible cultural practice in agriculture. Although maybe be quite expensive but it is worth it. Some planting materials have been genetically improved to resist various key or major pests and diseases; go for this type of seeds or planting material. It saves you a lot economically and emotionally.
Removal and destruction of infected plants
Disease and pest attack are two obvious occurrences you must expect. When any of these happens, do not just remove the infected plant but destroy either by burying or by burning it. This is because most of the disease-causing organisms are easily dispersed by air. Do yourself the good of total eradication of infected plant.
You would observe that these cultural practices are what you should do before cultivation; it is not just about doing them but what matters is doing them well to achieve the desired result. The use of pesticides, in the form of herbicides or insecticide, greatly increases the cost of production.
Crop production is an unsaturated agribusiness; with the alarming increase in population, you are sure of having a secured market. This is best achieved when you adopt the best cultural practices in agriculture.
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