TNAU Agritech Portal
  Home | About Us | Success Stories | Farmers Association | Farmers' Innovation | Publications | FAQs | Contact

Technologies :: Sustainable Agriculture

Steps to a Sustainable Agriculture

The agro-ecosystem is made up of many interacting components with multiple goals. Soil quality is one important part of sustainable agro-ecosystem management, analogous to water and air quality. Assessing soil quality may help managers identify practices that could be adapted to become more sustainable.
Soil quality is one aspect of sustainable agro-ecosystem management.

1. Conserve and Create Healthy Soil

  • Stop soil erosion by terracing, strip cropping, repairing gullies
  • Add organic matter to soil (with "green manure" cover crops, compost, manures, crop residues, organic fertilizers)
  • Conservation tillage
  • Plant wind breaks
  • Rotatecash crops with hay, pasture, or cover crops

2. Conserve Water and Protect Its Quality

  • Stop soil erosion in field and pasture
  • Reduce use of chemicals
  • Establish conservation buffer areas
  • Grow crops adapted to rainfall received
  • Use efficient irrigation methods

3. Manage Organic Wastes and Farm Chemicals So They Don't Pollute

Organic wastes:

  • Test soil and applying manures and litters only when needed
  • Compost dead birds and litters
  • Store litter piles out of the rain and snow
  • Raise pastured or free-range poultry
  • Raise hogs in hoop houses or free-range
  • Farm chemicals and trash:
  • Look for alternatives to chemicals
  • Use the least amount necessary
  • Buy the least toxic chemical
  • Recycle
  • Dispose according to label instructions

4. Manage Pests with Minimal Environmental Impact Weed Management

Mechanical Approaches

  • Mowing
  • Flaming
  • Flooding
  • Tillage
  • Controlled burns

Cultural Approaches

  • Crop Rotation
  • Smother crops
  • Cover crops
  • Allelopathic plants
  • Close spacing of plants

Biological Approaches

  • Multi-species grazing
  • Rotational grazing
  • Chemical Approaches
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Use of narrow spectrum, least-toxic herbicides
  • Properly calibrated sprayers

Application methods that minimize amount used, drift, and farmer contact

Insect and Disease Management

  • Introduce or enhance existing populations of natural predators, pathogens, sterile insects, and other biological control agents.
  • Traps
  • Maintain wild areas or areas planted with species attractive to beneficial insects
  • Selective insecticides or botanical insecticides which are less toxic
  • Trap crops
  • Crop rotation (avoid monoculture) Intercropping, strip cropping
  • Maintain healthy soil (prevents soil-based diseases)
  • Keep plants from becoming stressed

5. Select Plants and Animals Adapted to the Environment

  • Grow crops and crop varieties well-suited to Oklahoma's climate
  • Match crops to the soil
  • Experiment with older, open pollinated varieties that do well without chemical inputs
  • Raise hardy breeds of livestock adapted to climate
  • Raise livestock that gain well on grass and native forages

6. Encourage Bio-diversity

(of domesticated animals, crops, wildlife and native plants, microbial and aquatic life) Diversify crops and livestock raised Leave habitat (field margins, unmowed strips, pond and stream borders, etc.,) for wildlife Maintain the health of streams and ponds Provide wildlife corridors rotate row crops with hay crops

7. Conserve Energy Resources

  • Reduce number of tillage operations
  • Cut use of chemicals and fertilizers
  • Develop production methods that reduce horsepower needs
  • Recycle used oil
  • Use solar-powered fences and machines
  • Use renewable, farm-produced fuels: ethanol, methanol, fuel oils from oil seed cops, methane from manures and crop wastes

8. Increase Profitability and Reduce Risk

  • Diversify crops and livestock
  • Substitute management for off-farm inputs
  • Maximize the use of on-farm resources
  • Work with, not against, natural cycles
  • Keep machinery, equipment and building costs down
  • Add value to crops and livestock
  • Try direct marketing


Home | About Us | Success Stories | Farmers Association | Publications | FAQs | Site Map | Disclaimer | Contact Us

© 2013 TNAU. All Rights Reserved.