Water is one of the most important elements required for the sustenance of all life on Earth. It caters to so many needs of so many species and is used for drinking, cooking, agriculture, and various other daily needs. The population boom and the resultant increasing need for water have resulted more in its abuse than use necessitating the implementation of innovative means of saving water.
As per a report, India is one of the largest users of groundwater resources for various purposes including agriculture. Quoting a study undertaken from 2007 to 2017, the report states that India’s groundwater level has receded by 61 percent, with almost 89 percent of the water drawn being used for agriculture.
However, GROWiT India, one of the largest agrarian companies in India, has some sure-shot solutions, which could help save water to quite an extent. These solutions fall under the purview of what has come to be known as ‘protective farming’, which aims to make agriculture safe and profitable for not just the farmers, but also consumers and the environment.
What is protective farming?
Protective farming, as our erudite readers can make out for themselves, is the practice of state-of-the-art farming techniques that are beneficial to both humanity and the Planet Earth and its environment.
It is a set of techniques that ensures the best agricultural output from minimal agricultural inputs through the optimum use of resources, thereby causing little to no damage to the environment.
How can protective farming help saving water?
If anything can help conserve water in the present times, it is protective farming. As mentioned above, India’s farming sector relies heavily upon the groundwater resources for irrigation, which has led to a severe depletion in the groundwater level.
This is expected to have an adverse impact on agricultural outputs in the future. Protective farming can help save water by reducing the need to irrigate the plants every now and then, which not only results in water wastage but also causes damage to the soil in the form of erosion and the seepage of nutrients present in it.
Protective farming techniques like mulching reduce the evaporation of water from the soil, thereby maintaining adequate moisture and nutrient content in it for the benefit of the crops and plants
Other protective farming devices such as crop covers, shade nets, and agri nets too, work along similar lines, thereby reducing the need to irrigate the plants every now and then.
What are mulch and mulching?
Mulch is a protective layer applied to the soil to protect the plants growing on it against various natural and biological threats. It is of two types – organic and inorganic. The organic mulch imparts nourishment to the soil as it decomposes. It comprises grass clippings, manure, straw, stubble, leaves, chipped wood, et al.
The inorganic mulch comprises plastic mulch films, rubber mulches, and crushed stone. It does not impart any nourishment to the soil. However, both mulches have a few things in common in that they help prepare the soil for cultivation, insulate it, help maintain moisture and nutritional levels of the soil, and are allelopathic in nature in that they do not allow weeds to grow near the cultivated area and keep pests and insects at bay.
How can mulching help conserve water?
A properly applied and well-maintained layer of mulch can go a long way in helping conserve water. A well-mulched soil is less likely to lose moisture and nutrients than the one to which no mulch has been applied at all.
The ability of the mulch to insulate the soil implies that it can control the temperature of the soil. By doing so, it makes sure that the soil stays cool even during the hottest summer season and the rate of evaporation of water from the soil is properly controlled.
This ensures apt moisture content in the soil and the plant does not need to be irrigated every now and then the intensity of the sun notwithstanding. Mulching ensures the optimum and balanced use of the moisture content in the soil to keep the plants well-hydrated even during the most scorching summers.
Using other protective farming devices to conserve water: Protective farming is a wonderful thing. It has given to the world the devices that it needs to conserve water at a critical time, when every human is crying himself hoarse over the need to save water.
Some of the protective farming devices that can help conserve water include:
1. Crop covers:
If you just came out of the scorching sun, you must have realized how important it is to keep yourself covered to protect yourself from the intolerable heat. Plants too feel the same way. But while we perspire from our skin when the heat grows intense, it is their soil that sweats – through increased evaporation. We get dehydrated, so do they.
It’s the same in winters. Just as we reel under the effect of the harsh weather, plants do too! Crop covers insulate plants protecting them from intense heat in the summer. They help maintain a comfortable environment around the plants, and regulate the temperature around the crops, thereby helping reduce the evaporation of moisture from the soil. The lower the rate of evaporation, the lesser will be the loss of moisture from the soil and there will be no need to irrigate the plant every now and then.
2. Shade nets:
These are made of materials that help keep the plants cool by allowing air circulation around it. They regulate the light, temperature, and humidity around the plant.
3. Tree covers:
These protect the fruit trees and regular trees too from the ravages of excessive heat and cold.
A majority of the protective farming tools manufactured by GROWiT India are made of non-woven material. These are highly effective, eco-friendly, easy to use, and do not weigh at all on the pocket of a progressive farmer.
So, if you are a farmer, who is interested in a higher yield with the optimum use of water and if you want to avoid turning on your submersible pump every now and then to irrigate your fields, we urge you to try your hand at protective farming.
We assure you that you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
For more information and guidance on protective farming and protective farming products manufactured by GROWiT India, install GROWiT App