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Major Areas :: Dryland Agriculture :: Soil & Water Conservation Techniques
Agronomic Measures - Mulching
Weed mulching in maize conserves moisture and mitigates the drought

Mulch is a material placed on the soil surface to maintain moisture, reduce weed growth, mitigate soil erosion and improve soil conditions.Mulching is one of the simplest and beneficial practices for soil and moisture conservation. Mulch is simply protective layer of material that is spread on top of the soil to prevent it from blowing and being washed away. Mulch can either be organic such as grass clippings, straw, bark chips and similar materials or inorganic such as stones brick chips and plastic. Conservation tillage is a common practice that creates mulch on the soil surface. It leaves the crop residue on the top of the soil as mulch.

Stalk as mulching Crop residue as mulch
Coir waste used as mulch Stubble mulching
Yellow polythene mulching Black polythene mulching

Benefits :

  • Mulching improves the soil structure and increases the infiltration-capacity of the soil.
  • Protects soil from erosion.
  • Conserve moisture in soil thus saving the need for frequent irrigation.
  • Reduce compaction of soil due to impact of heavy rains.
  • Maintains a more even soil temperature.
  • Prevents weed growth to check loss of soil nutrients.
  • Crop residues act as a mulch and reduces soil evaporation.
  • Sorghum stalk spread over 40 cm depth with 15 cm wide in the beds increased 20-30% crop yield .
  • Coir waste can hold water five times as of its own weight.
  • It enriches soil by adding organic matter and reduces weed infestation.



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