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Environmentally Friendly Farming

Updated on November 9, 2016

Environmentally Friendly Farming

Wind Towers

Wind Farming
Wind Farming | Source

Environmentally Friendly Farming for a Green Future

Threats to the environment are being taken very seriously in the world today, and as pollution, pesticides, habitat destruction and Climate Change take their toll, many would argue not seriously enough. The decline in populations of many species has often been blamed on modern farming practices, and as the swing continues towards a “green future,” environmentally friendly farming has become increasingly popular and important.

The use of wind turbines in wind farms are becoming increasingly used to generate electrical power without any need for fossil fuels. These wind farms can also be used for growing crops, because plants can be cultivated on the land surrounding and below the turbines.

Fields of Canola

Yellow Fields of Oilseed Rape
Yellow Fields of Oilseed Rape | Source

Limiting the Expansion of Farmland

It has long been recognised that the expansion of farmland is eating up the countryside and destroying natural habitats, and so moves are being taken to counter this. Advances in plant science are being put into use to make more use of arable land available. However, the planting of GMO crops, such as canola, and the use of herbicides like glyphosate, have been said to be causing more problems, including the creation of “superweeds” that are resistant to the herbicides as well as having harmful effects on wildlife. Nevertheless, it can be shown that the planting of biotech crops has resulted in a reduction in farmland expansion. The less land being used for farming the more there is for wildlife. This just one example of where there is much controversy over which is a more sustainable way of farming.

Much of the debate over the use of glyphosate has centred around the substance being mixed with other chemicals and it is said that these mixtures have toxic effects. The herbicide also can get into freshwater habitats and is considered to be very damaging to amphibian populations, many of which are declining rapidly worldwide. In fact, many frogs species are now endangered animals, and some are threatened with extinction.

Wildflowers in a Grass Verge

Grass verge supporting natural flora
Grass verge supporting natural flora | Source

The Importance of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is essential to a healthy ecosystem and the flora and fauna within it. Monoculture crops and the destruction of hedges, grass verges and the draining of ponds and wetlands have caused big problems. Cutting hedgerows and grass borders back when wildflowers are blooming and birds are still nesting is obviously going to cause harm, so farmers that are preserving as much of the natural habitats on their land as possible, are helping reverse the downward spiral for the environment. Conscientious farm-owners are leaving strips of land where wild flowers can grow at the edge of their fields. By doing this they are helping to preserve biodiversity. Agriculture that leaves room for nature is the way forward.

Wildflower mixes of seeds are being increasingly planted along grassy roadsides, on waste ground and in wild areas of urban park-lands, in an effort to help bring back the biodiversity that once existed, and to create a habitat for important pollinating insects. This deliberate cultivation of wild flowers works hand-in-hand with the farmers who are leaving more of their land in its more natural state.

Harvesting Fertility

Hay to be used as mulch
Hay to be used as mulch | Source

Rotational No-till and Mulching Systems for Organic Vegetable Farms

Farm Machinery and Sustainable Agriculture

While a great increase in mechanization has taken place in farming today, there is a need for the use of this machinery to evolve along with practices that lead to a sustainable agriculture. Applying mulch to a field can cut down on pesticide use, help conserve soil moisture and reduce weeds. Mulch provides these benefits by creating a blanket of organic material over the land it is spread across. Mulching is becoming a popular farming practice on farms that specialise in growing organic frnd vegetables.

Special machinery can be used to plant seeds and apply fertiliser on mulched fields, and another benefit is that lighter and cheaper tractors can be used that do not compact and damage the soil so much. Maintenance and servicing of farm machinery and vehicles, such as tractors, is very important and this means that components, such as self-lubricating environmentally friendly agricultural bearings should be checked and replaced if necessary.

Ford 5000 Tractor

Source

Environmentally Friendly Farming Poll

Is there environmentally friendly farming in the part of the world where you live?

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Water Pollution and Runoff

Pollution of rivers and streams is another serious problem because pesticides and artificial fertilizers can easily get into the water, washed there after heavy rainfall. As well as this, the erosion of soil from fields adds silt to waterways, and runoff containing slurry adds to the pollution of water in the vicinity of farmland. Environmentally friendly farmers take steps to reduce these problems as much as possible.

Grants For Farmers

To help and encourage farmers to take care of the environment, £10 million was made available in government grants to fund new projects aimed at reducing the impact that agriculture has on water quality. Many farmers today have been applying for these grants and this initiative is a very positive move when it comes to creating environmentally favourable farming for the future.

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    • TimTravel profile image

      Tim Manner 6 months ago from London

      This a very interesting and informative article, thank you Steve. I am currently based in Kent and here we have farmland as well as many hop farms. I t would be interested to know how many are sustainable.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      I'm sharing this excellent, news-worthy hub with friends, family and followers. I will also post on twitter, etc. I'm a huge advocate for Enviornmentally Friendly Farming. Here in Tennessee we support this big time.

      Thank you Steve.

    • Green Bard profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 6 months ago from Tenerife

      Thank you for your comments, TimTravel! Thank you too, vocalcoach, for your appreciation of my hub!

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