Organic agriculture simply means the use of ruminants and decay of plants and animal by-products to improve agricultural production. In other words, it involves the use of remains of plants and animals to improve the production of crops for improve yield in agriculture. Organic agriculture involves the use of prepared manure which are natural to improve agricultural production. In this regard, the use of artificial chemical like inorganic fertilizer does not constitute which is called organic agriculture.
Form of organic agriculture
The use of material obtained from plants and animals in form of organic materials are available for use in agriculture. These include:
1) Organic manure
Organic manure refers to the decayed plant and animal products which have been carefully prepared to supply nutrients to plants or crops.
Types of organic manure
There are three types of organic manure these are:
- Green manure.
- Farm yard manure.
- Compose manure.
2) Cover cropping: Cover cropping is a process of planting certain plats mainly to cover soil surface. By so doing, the nutrients are conserved in the soil.
3) Mulching: Mulching is another form of organic agriculture whereby certain dead and decaying plants are used to cover the soil in order to conserve soil water and prevent evaporation.
4) Crop rotation: Thus is the planting of different types of crops on the same piece of land in a definite sequence so as to maintain the fertility of the soil.
IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE
Organic manuring as a way of improving soil fertility has the following advantages:
- It promotes the activities of soil living organisms such as earthworms, termites and microbes. These organisms promote aeration of the soil, easy percolation of water, mixing organic materials with soil, form humus and fix nitrogen into the soil. All these help to promote the fertility of the soil.
- Organic manure helps to improve the structure of the soil by building the particles of coarse texture soil together.
- Mineralisation of humus adds nutrients to the soil.
- It reduces rapid soil temperature fluctuations. As a result of its dark colour, humus easily absorbs heat during the day and loses it slowly at night.
- Organic manure helps to conserve moisture and prevent evaporation from the soil.
- Organic manure (humus) has a buffering effect on the soil; that is, it balances the acid-base condition of the soil or soil pH.
- It prevents erosion because it improves the structure of the soil and reduces the speed of the run off.
- Organic matter increases water-holding capacity of soil.
- It increases the rate of water percolation through clay soil.
- It increases the activities of soil micro-organism.
- It improves the aeration of the soil.
All these advantages of organic manure help to maintain or even promote the availability of nutrients in the soil.