Suwon, S. Korea, August 02 (Korea Biz Wire) – The Rural Development Administration (RDA) announced that it has developed and distributed a new eco-friendly method of managing soil. The method involves growing cover crops that become ‘green manure’ on the slopes of highlands and by only cultivating areas where the plants will be sown, therefore preventing soil and nutritious elements from being swept away.
Of all the highland farms arranged around Baekdudaegan mountain range, 242,136ha, or approximately 84% of farmland is located on slopes steeper than 7% and are most vulnerable, and it is estimated that 12,110,000~19,370,000 tons, or 50~80 tons per ha, of soil is lost annually. Not only are farmers forced to refill and re-fertilize the land only to be lost again the next monsoon season, the soil swept away also pollutes the water.
The new method developed by the RDA first requires the growing of cover crops after harvesting in the fall. Then in the following spring, only the minimum amount of land necessary to sow seeds, 10cm in width, is cultivated. It has been shown that this method reduces soil from being swept away by approximately 90%. Also by using a partial-width cultivator farmers can reduce the workload by more than half.
Chung Jin-cheol, chief of the Highland Agriculture Research Center at the National Institute of Crop Science, RDA, says, “The newly developed method involving cover crops and limited cultivation can minimize the loss of soil at highland farms. The use of cover crops can also help the growth of other crops grown on these farms.”