Agriculture for Everyone With Practical Demonstration for a Conservative Future:
This guide is for Middle Eastern farmers, machinery makers, and researchers interested in conservation agriculture (CA). CA is a way of farming that helps the environment. It wasn't well known in the Middle East before 2005. Now, it's used worldwide.
CA isn't the same everywhere. It must fit the local conditions to work best. It can be hard for small, less-educated farmers to switch to CA. We need to make it simple and reduce risks during the change.
In the Middle East, livestock and cereal farming are common. CA has to fit with this. It's not just one way of doing things.
This guide is based on a project in northern Iraq. It ran from 2005 to 2015 and was funded by ACIAR and managed by ICARDA. The project showed that CA, like not plowing and early planting, helps save money, grows more crops, and helps the environment. Even a simple CA system can bring many benefits, like more food and a reduced need to import it.
What is conservation agriculture?
Preservation agribusiness has been around for 40-50 years, and it's drilled differently in different spots. Essentially, cultivating in a way brings in cash, is really great for the climate, and utilizes fewer assets.
The main guidelines are as follows:
1. Minimum soil disturbance:
Conservation Agriculture emphasizes minimal soil disturbance. CA, particularly zero-tillage (ZT) seeding, aims to reduce soil disruption.
2. Permanent soil cover:
Soil cover serves many important purposes. Some of the benefits can be obtained in the short term and others take time to be realized.
3. Develop Various Yields in an Example:
Other than these principles, CA needs other great cultivating practices like planting brilliantly, utilizing the right seeds, dealing with supplements, and managing weeds, sicknesses, and nuisances. Everything revolves around improving cultivation for everyone and the planet.
Global Adoption of Conservation Agriculture (CA):
Conservation agriculture (CA), particularly zero-tillage (ZT), has gained significant traction worldwide, covering over 125 million hectares across diverse continents and agricultural landscapes. This training is presently being carried out in districts going from ocean level to high elevations, from very blustery regions with yearly midpoints of 2,500 mm to dry circumstances with just 250 mm of precipitation. The rate of expansion of CA systems, which has increased by more than 7 million hectares annually on average for the past 11 years, is even more impressive.
Western Australia's farmers excel in CA, with 86% practicing early planting, even in regions with low rainfall (250-350 mm/yr), achieving excellent water-use efficiency. Yet, CA in the Middle East faces challenges. Livestock roaming freely hinders crop residue preservation, and small-scale, resource-constrained farmers dominate, unlike large, mechanized farms in Southern Australia. Syria and Iraq surveys reveal diverse farm sizes, making Middle East CA adoption unique.
Seeding Depth Matters:
In the Middle East, some farmers still sow their crops by hand, scattering seeds onto cultivated soil or ridges. Afterward, they might cultivate again or break the ridges to cover the seeds. This practice, known as broadcasting over ridges,' leads to uneven seed placement. Some seeds end up buried too deep and struggle to sprout, while others near the surface face dry conditions and threats from birds and pests. In any event, when seed drills are utilized, ranchers once in a while ignore legitimate alignment and activity. This may result in poor and uneven seed placement throughout the field. Consequently, the field may experience uneven and subpar seed placement. The recommended depths vary depending on the type of crop and range from 5 to 8 cm.
Benefits of Conservation Agriculture:
Numerous significant advantages emerge when sound agricultural practices and conservation agriculture (CA) principles are combined. Unlike many environmentally friendly technologies that can harm crop productivity and short-term profits, CA stands out as a practice that enhances yields, economic returns, and food security while also conserving or improving natural resources. It's a win-win for individual farmers and the larger community, making it especially relevant in the context of climate change and increasingly unpredictable seasons, as seen in the Middle East.
Productivity increases are common in well-managed CA systems. These may take several years to develop, because some of the improvements in soil fertility are long-term, and farmers may need to become familiar with new crop management practices while adapting the CA system to their 24 PB individual farming operations over a period of two or three years, or possibly more. As mentioned previously, yield increases of 12-20% were measured in wheat, barley, lentils, and chickpeas when all principles of CA were employed along with early sowing in experiments in Syria over four years.