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By John Mason

The technological revolution in farming practices has allowed us to transparent and domesticate extra land, develop vegetation and animals quicker, and kill a wider variety of pests and illnesses than ever ahead of. regrettably, those efficiencies are proving to be unsustainable within the long-term and feature created difficulties similar to soil structural decline, erosion, salinity, soil acidification, lack of fertility, nutrient loading of waterways, dams and a building up of chemical residues.

This ebook is set foreseeing and figuring out such difficulties and addressing them earlier than it really is too overdue. John Mason examines a majority of these difficulties and explains the options and long term advantages of sustainable farming structures comparable to permaculture, biodynamics, natural farming, agroforestry, conservation tillage, and built-in hydroculture.

Sustainable Agriculture second variation additionally seems to be at vital concerns resembling monoculture as opposed to polyculture, using hybrids, choice standards for vegetation and inventory, built-in pest administration and getting ready a farm for droughts and floods. different components tested comprise diversifying into farm tourism and cost including ahead of promoting produce.

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Control is often difficult and may involve allowing contaminated areas to lie fallow, leaching affected areas, trying to deactivate or neutralise the chemicals, removing the contaminated soil, or selecting tolerant crops. Improving soils Nearly any soil can be ‘improved’ in some way to make it more suitable for agricultural or horticultural production. This is more readily done for small areas where the inputs required (eg soil additives, time, labour and machinery) are small, but can require considerable expenditure for large areas.

44 Sustainable Agriculture What is the C/N ratio? For effective composting to occur, the micro organisms that break down the plant materials require food in the form of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Phosphorous and potassium are generally quite plentiful in composting materials but there is often a lack of nitrogen. The most important requirement is the ratio of the percent carbon (C) in the materials, to the percent nitrogen (N). This is called the Carbon/Nitrogen ratio. Raw garbage, for example, has 25 times as much carbon as it has nitrogen, so its C/N ratio is simply expressed as the number 25.

Hydroponics. Despite being an ‘artificial’ way of growing plants, hydroponics can be sustainable if it is well managed and relatively environmentally friendly. It allows you to take full control over the root zone: • excess nutrients are not ‘lost’ and washed into surrounding areas • chemical residues can be collected, treated and disposed of properly • water loss can be minimised, and water use maximised Of the three options above, the least sustainable is the most commonly practised (ie technologically supported soils).

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