In honor of the passing of Earth Day recently, consider the following eight ways your acreage and farm may become more climate-smart and eco-friendly:
Decrease soil tillage
It preserves soil structure for improved water absorption and holds the soil in place. Also, it sequesters carbon that might slow climate change. According to CropLife International, decreased soil tillage might equal the same lowered carbon emissions as taking 12.4M vehicles off the streets.
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Rotate crops to improve soil health
Biodiversity adds to the mixture of soil microorganisms, which improves soil health. Plus, it assists in controlling pests which thrive in one crop yet starve out in an additional one. Legumes such as soybeans or alfalfa add nitrogen to the soil, in which it’s available for the following year’s corn crop. According to research from the University of Wisconsin Extension, corn following alfalfa might not require any supplemental nitrogen, reach out Tillable.com to learn more about it.
Plant cover crops
Those cool-weather plants will keep the ground covered between harvesting seasons. They’ll hold nutrients, prevent soil erosion, improve soil health, and suppress weeds. SARE specialists state that cover crops also can save you money, particularly if it’s possible to use them to graze livestock instead of silage or feed hay.
Make use of low-pressure irrigation
Usually, pivot irrigation systems spew water upward underneath 100 pounds of pressure. A low-pressure drop tube dribbles the water over a crop canopy at roughly 30 pounds, which saves energy. An even better savings is 15 percent less water that is lost to evaporation.
Sustainable farming involves throwing away expired pesticides
The product label might inform you of how to correctly dispose of pesticides. Or your state might participate in a plan referred to as Clean Sweep that disposes of and collects old pesticides from farms. For instance, the Illinois Department of Agriculture uses funding from the EPA to perform yearly Clean Sweep programs in rotating areas.
Support bee and butterfly pollinators
Butterflies and bees pollinate flowering crops as they collect nectar. Their numbers are declining, partially because of a loss of habitat. It’s possible to seed bee-friendly flowering plants in road ditches, fence lines, or other untilled regions. The majority of wild bees are sweat, digger, and bumble. They nest in the ground, dead branches, or dry twigs, according to the NRCS.
Replace your lightbulbs
Incandescent bulbs that use 100 watts of electricity may be exchanged for 23-watt CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) to generate the same quantity of light on 75 percent less energy. It might save you $10 a bulb a year, according to the experts at Cooperative Extension. Compact fluorescent lamps also last up to ten times longer.
Recycle farm plastics
According to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates, even a modest-size dairy of 300 cows may generate 6,000 lbs. of plastic waste per year. Some companies specialize in the recycling of farm plastics. Arkansas’ Delta Plastics takes old irrigation polytubes. Oregon’s Agri-Plas annually recycles 12M lbs. of greenhouse trays, chemical containers, silage bags, and bale wrap.
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How can Tillable.com help?
About 62% of Midwest farmland is rented. Tillable has the goal of bringing transparency and efficiency to that market by making it convenient for landowners to care for their farm lease and assist farmers in finding more land to grow their expanding operations. Through its platform online, Tillable keeps track of land stewardship activities and farm performance data to make sure the land is productive and sustainably treated.