Green manures are crops grown specifically for building and maintaining soil fertility and structure, though they may also have other functions. They are normally incorporated back into the soil, either directly, or after removal and composting.
Why use green manures?
Green manures are crops grown within a rotation for the purposes of:
- building soil organic matter and soil structure
- supplying nitrogen and other nutrients for a following crop
- preventing leaching of soluble nutrients from the soil
- providing ground cover to prevent damage to soil structure
- bringing crop nutrients up from lower soil profiles
- smothering weeds and preventing weed seedling growth
Advantages of green manure over fertilizers
- Green manure is a great substitute for chemical nitrogenous fertilizers.
- After getting mixed in the soil, green manure decomposes & releases other great micro & macro nutrients as well.
- This manure improves the overall quality of soil by enhancing its overall humus/biomass content.
- Adding green manure to the soil strengthens the water holding capacity of it.
- Adding green manures leads to increase in population of friendly microorganism in soil.
- Green manures are budget friendly. It is an important component of low input farming.
- Punjab’s per hectare fertiliser consumption, which is around 244 kg, is one of the highest in the country and is also higher than the national average. Growing green manure can curtail this consumption to a large extent by 25 to 30% and can save huge input cost for the farmers.
- high-intensity agricultural practices are prevalent as farmers take two-three crops in a year, which requires lots of chemical fertilisers such as urea, diammonium phosphate (DAP) etc. And this leads to deficiencies of micronutrients like iron and zinc, especially in the soils where rice is cultivated thus affecting productivity. In such a situation, green manuring helps improve soil health and enhance the productivity of the crops.
- It helps in enhancing the organic matter in the soil, meets the deficiency of the micronutrients and reduces the consumption of the inorganic fertilisers etc
How to structure
- Give a brief intro about India’s fertilizer usage
- Explain what green manure is
- Give the advantages of it over chemical ones
- Mention the challenges associated
- Suggest way forward and connect to schemes