Farmers’ Evolving Vocabulary
Over the years, our farmers have evolved. And why wouldn’t they?
Farmers from across the world are moving away from traditional practices to adopt newer, modern agricultural practices. Over these years, farmers have improved their “chemistry” with agriculture. Today; in most parts of the world – and in India too – farmers marry data with agriculture.
If you’re someone who’s regularly reading about agriculture, you would have come across some terms that are not generally used as part of our everyday vocabulary. However, these words form the crux of agriculture. This post will demystify a few of these words.
Polyculture is one such word. But what is polyculture?
When we continuously grow one type of crop, only certain types of nutrients get absorbed from the soil. To avoid this problem and keep the soil fresh and healthy, farmers grow multiple crops together.
Let’s take the human body as an example. If we continuously eat a single type of food every single day, the body will be deprived of other necessary nutrients it needs.
In a similar way, growing only one kind of crop lessens the nutrients of the soil. To counter this, farmers now grow companion crops in one patch. An example of companion crops are onions and carrots. The onion smell puts off carrot root fly, while the smell of carrots puts off onion fly.
Another agronomic practice followed popularly is crop rotation.
In this case, farmers grow one crop during one season and another on the same field in the subsequent season. For instance, some farmers rotate corn (Kharif) and wheat (Rabi). This helps a farmer in multiple ways: (1) Increases the fertility of the soil (2) prevents soil erosion (3) reduces carbon footprint (4) increase crop yield! All in all, crop rotation nourishes the land that feeds us. Isn’t this a win-win for us all?
We’ve also come across the abbreviation Bt.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is nothing but a friendly bacteria that is found in the soil which scientists use to control pests. Farmers choose genetically modified crops to protect their crops against pests and to attain optimum yield.
Another popular term in our farmers’ dictionary is mulching.
Do you know the role played by mozzarella cheese on a pizza? It holds the toppings together and keeps the pizza bread moist and delicious.
What mozzarella cheese does to pizza, mulching does to agriculture. A layer of material – could be hay or plastic – drawn across the surface to conserve moisture. This material acts as an umbrella shielding the crop from the harsh rays of the sun and excessive rain.
At Monsanto, we’re always searching for ways to consume less and accomplish the same goal. We work towards developing a wide variety of agricultural solutions for our farmers to help them address their needs. Our aim is to cultivate today, and conserve for tomorrow. After all, we’re in this together.