10 Ways To Improve FARMERS

0
374

Farmers often have to deal with the sun — harmful ultraviolet rays, depleting nutrients in the soil, excessive heat and drought. And now that it’s getting hotter, these challenges are only exacerbated. That said, there are many ways for farmers like cute farm names stardew to improve their lives working in tough conditions! We’ve put together a list of 10 ways for farmers to more efficiently deal with existing and future climate change-related difficulties.

Improve farmers in these 10 ways:

1. Improve water management and soil health

“The future of agriculture is in the quality of the land,” says Karen Kidd, Executive Director of the Mississippi River Basin Collaborative. “People will always want to operate on a sustainable farm and think about how they can make it better over time.” As a result, farmers should be trying to address soil quality at all levels, from tilling and cultivating to crop rotation. This is where precision farming comes in: instead of operating blind to factors like pH, microbe population and nutrient loss during tillage, farmers can study the soil using sensors that measure these factors. By doing so, farmers can better judge how much fertilizer or other inputs are needed for their crops.

2. Improve livestock management

“Animals are a good way to capture carbon,” says Kidd. “Livestock don’t all have to be put in the freezer — they can be grazing and fertilizing the land.” In fact, livestock can also be used to counteract another major challenge facing farmers: soil erosion. As the climate changes, intense rainfalls and heavy kicks from cattle are likely to cause a lot more erosion than before — that’s where cross fencing comes in. It allows farmers to allow their animals to graze one part of their fields while protecting the rest by enclosing it with a fence. 

3. Develop crop and animal breeding

“We have to focus on being good stewards of the land in a very strategic way,” says Kidd. “We have to develop practices that help us use our land as efficiently as possible.” Existing breeds can be investigated: what works, how well and why? These questions can lead to innovative approaches. For example, by breeding heat-tolerant varieties of tomatoes growers in Arkansas encountered less water stress during the growing season — which resulted in yields that were up to 20 pounds per plant more than otherwise expected. As such, farmers should be looking for those types of beneficial surprises!

4. Free up capital for climate adaptation

To better weather the next disaster or even just a hard season, farmers should think beyond their own farms. In 2007, a group of farmers got together to create the Farmland Stewardship Foundation. The goal is simple: find ways to protect farmland and also manage it for future generations. For instance, when a new water resource becomes available farmers can take a look at changing cropping patterns to take advantage of it — and over time, the land can mature into something sustainable.

5. Implement integrated pest management

“The ultimate goal of agriculture is to reduce the need for inputs,” says Kidd. Integrated pest management is an effective way to achieve this: by designing farms and farm fields to withstand insect attacks, farmers can drastically reduce their use of pesticides, in turn reducing their carbon footprint. DDT, a pesticide that was used widely but banned in the United States in 1972 because of its harmful effects on humans and wildlife, is an example: by properly disposing of it improperly through composting or recycling, DDT has been shown to help increase crop yields up to 20 percent.

6. Improve the quality of soil

“You want to give your soil the resources it needs to build its immune system,” says Kidd. “It can be erosion, compaction, fungal pathogens — all of which affect microbiology.” For example, by building more organic matter into the farmland and soils farmers can increase water infiltration and reduce runoff — which will improve their quality. To do this efficiently, farmers should be considering what their land is trying to tell them: poor quality nutrients and poor timing in soil applications are both signs that yields could be improved through better composting or other soil improvements.

7. Improve livestock and poultry production

“It’s a matter of knowing how to make your animals function better,” says Kidd. One common way to do this is using breeds that are used for both meat and milk. These breeds have different parameters, including time response (milk or meat) as well as genetic differences that can result in animals that respond differently to climate change-related challenges. For example, cattle from a variety of different backgrounds are being studied: where some cattle are in Wyoming while others are in Montana — which is already experiencing significantly more precipitation than normal. By studying the latter group, farmers can identify what works best for their particular climate conditions.

8. Reduce the impact of climate change on body dynamics

“The most important thing is to know your animals and run a good operation,” says Kidd. “If your cows are in good condition, they’ll likely be better at dealing with weather stress.” This can be done in a few ways: by having employees who are well-versed in animal health, by making sure that animal wastes are properly managed and by giving animals plenty of clean water. Again, it’s all about knowing what your farm needs so that you can do everything in your power to take care of it.

9. Improve the quality of animal feed

“You want to provide good quality hay year round,” says Kidd. “If you’re giving your animals a good diet, they’ll be able to take on the challenges of climate change.” This can be done in several ways — such as by feeding forages that are less prone to developing moldy and decaying residues, or by carefully designing feed barns so that waste can flow out of the barns rather than build up in the cows’ stomachs.

10. Use local production

“In addition to transportation costs and energy use, climate change affects land prices,” says Kidd. “It’s important to make use of local resources — helping production shift toward more localized food systems will help offset some of these effects.

Conclusion:

The United States produces nearly half of the wheat grown worldwide, and 74 percent of that wheat is grown in the Great Plains region. As such, it’s especially important for farmers in this region to know what they can do to adapt to ongoing climate change. By discussing and analyzing the best strategies, farmers will be better able to manage their resources — not only improving yields but also preparing farms for whatever the future might bring.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here