Conservation agriculture – a panacea to improve soil physical health

A. K. Indoria and others from ICAR-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad write:

“Maintenance of soil physical health at its optimum level is essential for sustainable crop production and rational use of natural resources without jeopardizing their quality. The ongoing conventional tillage practices for crop production using intensive ploughing and removal of crop residue from the field have resulted in an increase in surface crusting, soil compaction, soil erosion, decrease in water infiltration and ultimately aggravation of the overall soil physical health deterioration. In recent years, many agricultural scientists across the world have recommended conservation agriculture as a solution to overcome the adverse effects of conventional tillage practices on soil physical health. Conservation agriculture is mainly an integration of three crop management practices, viz. minimum or no-tillage, permanent retention of crop residue and crop rotation. The present data indicates that conservation agriculture can improve soil physical properties and associated processes especially, soil water infiltration and storage, soil aeration, soil structure and soil porosity. It reduces soil erosion, soil compaction and crusting, and optimizes the soil temperatures for successful crop production. This article reviews the role of conservation agriculture in improving soil physical health and its associated processes.”

Read the full article in Current Science