5 Ways Mulching Can Save the Farmer’s Time and Labour – 2020 Guide

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Farm Life

Mulching is an old technique used by farmers to protect their fields against different factors. The most common beneficial aspect of mulching includes water preservation and conservation.

What exactly is mulching?

Mulching covers the topmost layer of the field with bagasse, cut grass or hay etc. This is done to prevent water loss from the soil as the sunlight does not reach the ground. Thus, during the extremely hot weather conditions, the soil will remain intact and the scorching heat won’t reach it. Moreover, during the freezing cold weather, mulching prevents ice formation in the topsoil layer. Therefore, mulch is extremely beneficial for agricultural fields.

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Types of mulching

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There are two types of mulching. One is organic and the other one is inorganic. The organic technique involves the use of grass clippings, fallen leaves, bagasse and hay. Using the organic method is quite good for the overall health and fertility of the soil.

On the other hand, there is an inorganic technique. This includes the use of black plastic to cover the fields during extremely cold weather. Moreover, it includes different plastic sheets and not just the black ones. In addition to the plastic sheets, recycles tires, gravel and stone chips are also used. You can use any technique based upon the type of land you have and the weather conditions.

Including extreme weather conditions, the mulch layer also possesses several different other benefits for the soil. It saves labor cost and also the farmer’s efforts. So, here is a list of some of the amazing benefits that mulching will offer you.

1) Protection from the harsh weather conditions

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The most beneficial aspect of the mulch layer on top soil is that it protects the plants against harsh weather conditions. During the scorching hot season, mulch is protective against scorching climates and also keeps the soil cooler. And it is not just the plants that get protection from the scorching sun but also the soil. As mentioned above, mulch covers the topsoil. Thus, it provides coolness in the field and also prevents erosion from air and water. So if your field is in an area prone to heavy rainfall, this soil preservation method is extremely beneficial for them.

2) Cut down your water bill

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Mulches keep the field bed protected against moisture loss. Thus, the overall electricity cost will be reduced significantly. So if you want to cut off your water bill, this is a great way for you to do so. By covering the field top, the sunlight won’t directly reach the bottom. Thus, with less heat, the evaporation level will also be significantly reduced. Through mulching, the land will have more water and thus, plants will get the necessary water availability.

3) Improved soil fertility

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Another amazing benefit that your agricultural land will get is improved soil fertility. Mulch is of two types now. But from it first-ever used, it was organic. So if you want to improve your agricultural land fertility, you need to go with an organic one. The organic matter will decompose over time and, thus, will add up nutrients in the soil. The nutrient-rich land will support more plant growth and better yield as compared to the other ones. So the overall health of your land will be improved.

4) Gets rid of compact soil

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If you use the organic mulch for your land, it will rot down and will decompose with time. Thus, it will get converted into compost. And with more compost, the soil structure remains porous. The organic materials keep the porous nature of soil and prevent their compaction. A compact soil is more problematic in terms of root expansion and water seepage.

Furthermore, compaction also reduces the concentration of oxygen and other gases. Therefore, the plants in such lands have reduced growth. That is why the loosening of soil is significant. Farmers tend to spend labour and money on tillage and similar activities that prevent compaction. Thus through only mulching, all of this effort and labour will be reduced.

5) Prevention of fungal attacks

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A huge amount of money is spent on antifungal treatments annually. Farmers who grow vegetables and fruits tend to spend a lot of their income on buying fungicides. The fields that grow cucumbers, melons and tomatoes are especially prone to fungal attacks. In addition to the fungal attacks, mulching also prevents the direct contact of fruits and vegetables with soil. Thus, the rotting process of fruits also gets reduced.

Furthermore, certain plants whose leaves are more prone to fungal diseases when they get splashed with mud. So, if your field has been covered with organic matter, the mud splashes won’t be anymore. Thus, the leaves of plants won’t get in contact with mud and finally, the fuss of diseased leaves will go.

Can you use mulching on any type of soil?

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No, it is not right to use mulching on every land. Despite being having enormous benefits for the agricultural fields, this method is not suitable for every land type. For example, the low lying type of soils are usually wet. So when you cover the top layer with anything, it will prevent evaporative loss of water. Thus, the water concentration in the land will increase, which will eventually affect plant growth.
The roots will get rotten with more water availability. And it is just not the roots that will get the effect. Fruit trees and plants need water stress during their flowering phase. So if your orchard in low lying land and you have used mulching, you won’t get the fruit.

Furthermore, the fungus is more likely to grow in humid fields. Thus, the agricultural lands with humid regions will get more fungal attacks. Therefore, you need to be careful about this technique.

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