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How Perennial Forages Increase Soil Health

 

Perennial forage Burlington plantings are an excellent way to increase the vitality and health of both the soil and the surrounding water systems. They act to absorb nutrients and water, preventing both from escaping into groundwater. The land does not have to be tilled either, which prevents damage to the soil and the organic nutrients within the soil. Pastureland that is planted with perennial forage increases the soil quality which allows that soil to be used for other crops in time. Thus it makes soil that has been depleted by greedier crops and tilling useful to farmers that need to use the land without depleting the soil further.

 

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Legume forage is especially useful in this regard. Not only does it restore the vitality of the soil by adding nitrogen, but it is also resistant to weeds, pests, and disease. Legume forage provides a dense, tall protection for the soil that prevents sunlight from reaching other seeds and this is particularly true of invasive weeds, which in turn prevents the weeds from germinating properly. Forage can also outcompete those weeds that do sprout, thus preventing them from spreading, and killing them off.

 

Another major advantage of perennial forages, says one expert from the Burlington area, is that most invasive insects cannot use them for food.

 

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“By leaving a field planted with perennial forage for at least a year, insects and diseases that target crops have nothing to target,” he said. “They end up dying off. So on top of the fact that perennial forages re-nitrogenize the soil and protect it from weeds, perennial forages also kill off the insects that target crops and the diseases that cause their failure. ”

 

Many perennial forages are can also earn farmers some decent cash. Buckwheat and alfalfa are fairly competitive crops on the market, so on less than remarkable land, or on land that has been depleted over previous seasons, farmers can still earn cash while simultaneously restoring the health of the soil.

 

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“In some states we’re seeing legislatures encouraging farmers to grow perennial forages because they’re so healthy for the surrounding environment. Government programs are offering tax breaks and other incentives for environmentally friendly farming practices. Even the federal government is getting in on this, so it’s not as much of an economic drain on farmers to grow less lucrative crops, or over crop their land.”

 

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“Another option is contract grazing, or for farmers that raise cattle, this has always been a no brainer. Farmers can rent the use of their fields to other farmers for the purpose of grazing, so there’s money to be made in the market as well.”

 

So for many farmers, planting perennial forages are a lucrative and environmentally friendly practice.