- For soil to be able to do this for a longer time, one must adopt practices such as integrated soil fertility management (ISFM).
- In the practice of ISFM, there are various principles and guidelines to be followed to guarantee its success.
- The final principal is participatory learning and action research. This involves combination of traditional and scientific knowledge, which enables planning, experimentation and evaluation of alternative soil fertility management practices.
All agricultural activities start from soil. Therefore, to ensure continuous flow of high quality and quantity yields, the resource must be maintained in top form.
A healthy soil is one that is able to supply required nutrients, water and anchorage to the crops without much stress.
For soil to be able to do this for a longer time, one must adopt practices such as integrated soil fertility management (ISFM).
ISFM is a set of agricultural practices that involve use of mineral fertiliser, organic materials such as animal and green manure as well as the use of improved crop varieties.
ISFM can be done using various agricultural options including:
(i) Nutrient management through use of organic and inorganic sources of plant nutrients, nutrient-adding and saving techniques.
(ii) Employing minimum tillage practices that reduce soil disturbance. This will maintain soil water, minimise exposure to evaporation hence high plant available water,
(iii) Integration of crop and animal production on the same piece of land. This ensures a continuous recycling of inputs where livestock are fed from plant remains and in return, they give manure for crop production.
(iv) Planting of cover crops, which mainly consist of legume crops like Lablab purpureus, Crotalaria ochroleuca and Canavalia ensiformis.
In the practice of ISFM, there are various principles and guidelines to be followed to guarantee its success.