Organic Farming and Hard Water Problems on a Farm

Organic Farming and Hard Water Problems on a Farm

Overview

Farmers worldwide are shifting over to organic farming. It has slowly gained popularity among both small scale and large scale producers. However, there are some areas that have been experiencing frequent water shortages thus creating problems for organic farmers. Despite that organic farmers are still able to thrive during such crisis.

The alternative farming methods that farmers employ are part of the solution to water shortages. They use heavy mulches to prevent excessive evaporation and improved soil contouring which reduces the speed and intensity of surface runoff. Some organic farmers are also using organic swales which are small depressions in the farm designed for capturing run off and thus increase water infiltration. As such, the water needed to grow crops is minimal and lessened.

Hard Water Problems and Growing Crops

Organic Farming and Hard Water Problems on a FarmMore farmers are appreciating the importance of having a proper strategy of water usage in their farms. Farming can only be done well if there are optimal supplies of quality water. A greater challenge facing organic farmers is the issue of hard water. Most farmers cannot tell the difference between hard and soft water. The main difference is that hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium which are not found in soft water.

Although the effects of hard water on plants are almost negligible, it is not good to make assumption that it is not harmful. However, with time, it can have indirect effects. Hard water affects the quality of soil gradually. The presence of high levels of calcium and magnesium can lead to dispersion.

With time, hard water can also block the irrigation equipment such as pipes and other fittings. The effects of lime scaling are that the crops do not receive a uniform supply of water. The farmer will also find it very expensive to maintain irrigation equipment. The cost becomes even higher if the farmer wants to replace such equipment. Moreover, solving hard water related problems are time consuming which could have been spent in other farming activities.

Benefits of soft water in organic farming

With the challenges brought about by hard water problems, it is important to seek long term solutions with durable and well built water softeners so its important to read water softener reviews on sites like watersoftenerguy.com. The process of treating hard water is called softening. This can be achieved through different means such as ion exchange, water softening agents, use of lime and reverse osmosis among others.

On top of the inventive organic farming methods, some farmers have also resulted in using innovative and simple non-chemical methods of water treatment. These methods keep the moisture levels high in the soil thus, reduce the quantity of water needed and ensure the vitality and health of the crops. The non-chemical method of treating irrigation water is very effective in solving the challenges that have been facing farmers using conventional means

There are several benefits of using soft water for organic farming. First, production of crops is more effective due to better growth. Secondly, farm animals enjoy overall health. This is mainly observed in dairy farming since they realize immense benefits. Hard water with high levels of magnesium has been observed to create gastro-intestinal challenges for animals.

Shower head softener

According to studies conducted by the national resource defense council, 19 cities in the United States are faced with hard water problems. Hard water will eventually lead to clogging of shower heads and other plumbing fixtures in the house. It is therefore important to install a water softener or filter to ensure longevity of the shower heads. Shower heads with softener filters included can now be bought as well so you can go for a wider set of options that in the past, when reading about the best shower heads sites give us some good ideas about what we can expect when it comes to the shower heads you can go for.

Although it may sound like an unnecessary bathroom purchase, shower head filters are fairly priced and the results are worth paying for. Shower head filters will reduce excessive chlorine from municipal water leaving the skin feeling soft and moist.

Most water filters have a life span of six months or even more and the price range is mainly $10-$45 each. Other benefits of a shower head softener include removal of synthetic chemicals, enhancing ph balance and eliminating the absorption of harsh chemicals. There are different shower water filters in the market based on brand and make.

Conclusion

In order to be successful in organic farming, water quality is of utmost importance. It is vital that farmers understand the quality of water that they are using in their farms. A laboratory test is a sure way of determining the water quality. Treating hard water is one of the best decisions that organic farmers can make. There will be better management of farming equipment and increased productivity.

Is Organic Farming the Future

Is Organic Farming the Future?

Overview

Organic farming is a technique that involves animal rearing and cultivation of plants using entirely natural methods. These methods make use of biological materials while avoiding synthetic substances. The soil fertility is maintained, ecological balance is achieved, and there is minimal pollution and wastage.

It is heavily reliant on agricultural principles that are ecologically balanced such as green manure, crop rotation, and biological pest control, organic waste and mineral additives. The only fertilizers used in organic farming are those that are considered natural. Petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides are avoided completely.

With the drastic increase in world population and food provision for the world become more difficult, sustainable farming is the answer. Climate change and pollution are negative effects of using chemical based fertilizers. The market for organic farming and products has been steadily growing and it was reported at $63 billion worldwide by 2012. Mainstream agronomist have also acknowledged that intensive farming methods generates run off with poisonous chemicals and results in irreversible soil erosion which can create problems to the ecosystem.

Organic farming practices

Is Organic Farming the FutureIn organic farming taking care of the soil involves planting cover crops such as rye or clover in between harvests to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Another benefit of using cover crops is that they retain moisture, keep down weeds, and prevent soil erosion. If they are ploughed back into the soil at the end of the season, they boost the nitrogen content of the soil. This eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers.

Low tillage

There is also a low-till approach based on organic farming practices. In this technique, farmers plant nitrogen fixing crops in between seasons and between their rows of cash crops. This ensures the soil is not left exposed to erosion. However, low-tillage crops still rely on pesticides and nitrate fertilizers to boost production. Before they do any planting, they control weeds using broad spectrum herbicides. Seeds are then sown directly into the ground without having to do much tilling.

Low till approach has been adopted in both poor and rich countries. According to Pat Wall who is the head of Conservation at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre in Mexico, almost 2% of global farming land is using this method. Most of it is in the United States. Farmers who use low tillage purport that it conserves the soil structure and reduces inputs related to energy.

Although they are still used, low tillage reduces the quantity of fertilizers used in farming. The cover crops planted in between fix nitrogen into the soil and with the buildup of organic matter, nitrates and nutrients are slowly released back to the soil. This reduces the need for fertilizers further.

However, for farmers who believe in pure organic farming, any approach in improving production with the use of synthetic chemicals is retrogressive. According to Peter Melchett, the policy director at Britain Soil Association, you can only use low tillage methods for weed control for up to three years. The weeds will then become resistance to the chemicals used. The farmer will be then left looking for stronger chemicals or do ploughing. As such low-tillage is not a long term or viable solution for farming.

Organic farming and high yields

Is Organic Farming the FuturePeople who oppose organic farming argue that it cannot produce sufficient amount of food to feed the globe. They purport that organic farming is meant for kitchen gardens and lots since it produces low yields. This could not be further from the truth because there is evidence available to prove that organic farming is fully able to produce food sufficient for all. It can be done from one generation to the next without harming the environment or depleting natural resources.

New research has proven that organic farming does not result to lower yields. Field specialists visiting farms in Germany have noticed that to have a higher yield during the initial years of organic farming, it is good to start off with a cover crop with high levels of nitrogen instead of a grain crop. The inference to this is that organic farming can match the quantities of food produced through chemical means.

Conclusion

There are some grocery stores which have started insisting that produce sold there has to be organically produced. Organic farming also goes a long way in protecting the environment. Although research in this field has not been adequately funded compared to the chemical based farming, organic farming remains the most viable and sustainable option for the future.