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Practices Designed to Improve Environmental Performance of Conventional Agriculture

  • Crop rotation: which involves the successive planting of different crops on the same lands in sequential seasons to improve soil fertility and to avoid the build up of pathogens and pests that often occur when one species is continuously cropped.

  • Cover crops as part of a crop rotation, which involves the planting of crop varieties that can potentially protect fields from soil erosion, suppress weeds, and enhance soil organic matter and nutrient levels.

  • Reduced-tillage and no-till practices, in which a crop is planted directly into a seedbed not tilled since harvest of the previous crop. Instead of plowing soil and burying crop residues, no-till farmers minimize soil disturbance and leave residues on the surface of their fields after harvest.

  • Integrated pest management (IPM), which involves the strategic use of complementary practices—including cultural, mechanical, biological, ecological, and chemical control methods—to keep pest levels below critical economic thresholds.

  • Precision farming practices, which combine detailed spatial information about soil conditions and indicators of crop performance to target fertilization and other crop management practices where they are most needed.

  • Diversification of farm enterprises, which helps increase biodiversity, control pests and diseases, and reduce risks from climatic and market volatility.




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