Crops have always been a source of food and fuel for humans and animals alike. As the population of the former continues to grow and the climate of the planet continues to change, the importance of farm crops rises with every passing year.
Why Crop Yields Matter
The demand for plant materials not only concerns human dietary needs, but also plays a part in our increase in meat consumption and green-energy ambitions like biofuel production. In order to meet these needs and goals, farmers and homesteaders are working on how to improve annual crop yields. Some of the methods currently in use include expanding farming area production and improving productivity on existing farmland.
The Danger of Crop Increase
Because the topic revolves around crops and farming, it’s easy to assume there’s little to no danger in an increase in growth productivity. After all, it’s not as if you’re talking about building more factories or pumping more oil. It’s plants — what’s wrong with more plants?
The problem resides in the unseen emissions that large-scale farming produces. Greenhouse gas emissions can increase without producing short-term warning signs. Issues like deforestation and ecosystem disruption can negatively affect the environment for decades. Additionally, there’s the occurrence of land fatigue, in which overuse of a specific piece of land can kill its fertility, making it barren and unusable.
These types of problems do not seem as dire as an oil spill in the ocean or continuous smog being pumped into the atmosphere, but large-scale damage can occur if you’re not careful.
Reasons to Move Forward
Despite these potential dangers, the positive consequences of improving crop yields heavily outweigh the negative ones — as long as these improvements are researched well and implemented responsibly. While there are new developments in aquaculture and science to meet the growing food needs of the world, the first and foremost defense against worldwide famine will come from agricultural advancements.
Farmers, ranchers and homesteaders will stand at the frontlines of global food distribution. The advancements accomplished in this particular industry serve as crucial elements to future human society.
Ways to Move Forward
While the future needs consideration and preparation, there are things farmers can do now to improve their crop yields for the upcoming year. Some simple methods include:
While a farmer’s life may make advanced computers seem out of place, in truth, there’s a growing place for 21st-century technologies and their applications. Things like satellite imaging and scanning can help identify land that’s more or less suitable for crop growth. Machines and technology can measure the rate of crop growth during the year. Then they can provide recommendations as to when farmers should plant certain crops for greater yields.
Improving the Soil
Testing the soil on a regular basis prevents the ground from being unwittingly overworked. Implementing an aggressive fertilization schedule keeps topsoil valuable and nourished. Rotating crops rather than planting the same thing in the same spot over and over again introduces a healthy diversity of nutrients into the soil.
Introduce Proper Water Drainage
Standing waters are a threat to any garden or farmland. These types of unmoving water surfaces can become a breeding ground for bacteria and harmful insects. These elements can and will affect the growth rate of crops, negatively impact any budding crops and lead to a reduction of usable crops to harvest.
There are other methods, but these three are top ways to improve yields. By taking care of your farm’s water drainage, you’re also ensuring clean water remains in circulation. By improving your soil, you’re also preventing soil death, corrosion and are actively working against carbon emissions. These two elements alone will drastically improve farm crop yields. With the added use of technology, you can increase productivity and reduce waste.