Role of Mulching and Nitrogen Management in Crop Production
- Country : India
- Subject : Agronomy
Sustainable crop production techniques should be adopted to reduce environmental degradation and resource management. Mulching is the practice of spreading or distributing any material on soil surface which helps in solarising the soil, reduces evaporative loss of moisture, inhibiting emergence of weed, disturbing life cycle of certain pathogen and insects and prevent runoff and loss of soil. Materials used for mulching are plastic sheet, gravel, sand, basaltic tephra, rocks, crop residues, vine residues, paper mulch, cellulose etc. Plastic mulches are more effective than organic mulches. Evaporative loss of soil moisture is reduced to a greater extent by mulching as it covers the bare soil to prevent direct exposure to solar energy and conserves the water within the soil. Nitrogen, being an essential plant nutrient and prone to leaching, denitrification, volatilization, runoff and other losses requires proper management strategy. Mulching reduces the frequency of irrigation and maintains the soil temperature due to which leaching loss and ammonia volatilization is controlled respectively. Split application of nitrogen is another management strategy to prevent losses of nitrogen that also provide higher yield as it meets the crop demand at different growth stages.