The world's soil is in danger, and that is bad for global health. The death of our soil will be the death of our civilization.
Scientists at the International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC) in the Netherlands estimated that as of 1991, humans have degraded more than 7.5 million square miles of land — an area the size of the United States and Canada combined. The soil is ailing as a result of compaction, erosion, and salinization due to the use of chemicals and mechanized equipment. It is nearly impossible for anything to grow in soil that is in this condition. The world's six billion people are currently being fed from only 11 percent of the world's land, and experts estimate that by 2030 the earth's population will reach 8.3 billion. Our farmers will need to increase food production by 38 percent, but because of soil misuse, not much healthy soil remains. In places like Latin America, Asia, and Africa, civil unrest has been attributed to a lack of food due to poor soil management./p>
Cow Fertilizer Instead of Chemicals
One part of the solution to the serious problem of declining soil fertility is to rely on cows instead of chemicals. Organic farmers are reviving age-old practices of cow dung fertilizers and cow urine pesticides. It is called zero-budget farming. When the soil is nourished by the indigenous cattle of India, it remains fertile for thousands of years, but when scorched by chemicals, it dies in three to four decades.The cooperation of humans and cows is nature's perfect plan. Humans eat the grain, and the rest of the plant is eaten by the cows. In turn, the cow feeds the crops with dung and urine.
According to a study at the Dairy Research Institute in Ellinbank, Australia, cows return significant quantities of nutrients to pastures through their dung and urine. Up to 65 percent of the phosphorous eaten by a cow is returned in dung; approximately 11 percent and 79 percent of the consumed potassium is returned in dung and urine respectively. Both of these nutrients are important for soil fertility. At the beginning of the study, the amount of extractable phosphorous and potassium in the soil were measured. After 60 days of cow dung application, the extractable phosphorous and potassium were measured again, and both had nearly doubled.
The total nitrogen content in cow urine is high, ranging from 6.8 to 21.6 g N/l, out of which an average of 69 percent is urea. It has been found that the cow urine increases the nitrogen of grass.
Of equal importance to the nutrients is the presence of microbes and other organisms in the soil. Soil organisms interact with the roots of plants and have an immense impact on nutrient uptake in plants. The use of chemicals on diseased or poor-growing plants creates an imbalance in soil micro-flora. On the other hand, manure prepared with fermented cow dung, enriched groundnut cake, and neem cake improves the quality and microbial content of the soil.Panchagavya (made from five products of the cow) also stimulates plant growth. It enhances the biological efficiency of crop plants and the quality of fruits and vegetables. A formula made from cow urine and neem leaves is also an excellent pesticide and insect repellant.
The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers has led to the deterioration in the soil quality, and research has proved that productivity levels have come down drastically with the sustained use of these fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have also adversely affected water quality and have been a major source of environmental pollution and diseases.
In contrast, all the products from the cow are environmentally friendly and their use enriches the soil. Cow dung and urine, along with other organic matter, are foremost among known substances that improve and sustain soil quality and fertility.
Cow Muscle Instead of Mechanized Equipment
The second part of the solution to the serious problem of declining soil fertility is to stop destroying the land with heavy mechanized equipment. There is no need for much soil when planting crops. How much soil is really needed for planting paddy or vegetables when the root system spreads outward and not downward?Only about 3 inches of soil are needed, so why dig 6 or 12 inches?
Tractors dig much deeper than necessary, ripping up the earth, killing the habitat of beneficial insects and worms, and polluting the air by burning diesel fuel. If the quality of the soil is maintained, only a few inches is deep enough for planting. Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji said, "In my village, we tilled only about 4 to 6 inches of soil, and it was done with man and cattle power. No fuel was required, which conserved energy. There were no big machines compacting and destroying the soil, and polluting the air." Farms in India are much smaller than in the West, and there is no need for tractors. Bulls are used for tilling, harvesting, manure, transportation, and more.