Farming today is about making choices. Time and again a farmer has to decide what action to take in order to get maximum yields from the available amount of land and within the desired period of time.
One of the limitations is lack of sufficient funds to purchase the requisite inputs or to carry out the appropriate practices.
Choosing what works depends on the pertaining circumstances and challenges. To clear the bush during land preparation and to fight weeds some people till the garden using hired labour which often loosens the soil and exposes it to erosion.
In order to save time and money other people use herbicides, especially for deep rooted weeds. However, since most of our farmers don’t wear protective gear, prolonged exposure to herbicides is linked to health issues.
Pesticides are often used in the fight against crop diseases. But, like herbicides, pesticides are poisons which must be carefully handled. The difference is that pesticides are often applied on crops that are to be harvested for human and livestock consumption.
It is generally feared that due to carelessness some of the pesticides stick to the crops and make them risky to eat. The good news is that through biotechnology scientists have come up with crop varieties that can resist disease and make the use of pesticides unnecessary.
Irish potato farmers currently spend heavily on pesticides to fight potato blight but the new potato variety will not need any pesticide spraying.
The farmer has to take the best care of the soil in his garden to achieve high yields. Having the soil regularly tested by agriculturalists for nutrient deficiency is the best practice before the use of any fertilizers.
The application of organic manure is generally considered the best form of soil nourishment but it is rather labour intensive, expensive, and time consuming.
A few 50-kilogramme-bags of artificial fertilizers can be used on the same piece of land that would require trucks of cow dung and dozens of labourers to apply. Organic manure however lasts longer in the soil than manufactured fertilizers.