Essay: Using Chemical Fertilizers
It is important to understand the components of soil in order to have a good picture of what ought to be done to improve yields without increasing the acreage on farming. Soil consists of water, air and organic matter, bacteria and living animals such as earthworms. A healthy soil should have all of these components. Factory farms contribute a lot in soil degradation since they feed their animals on soybeans and corn.
This pushes the demand of these cereals high leading in intensive farming of the cereals, which to over usage of soil causing soil infertility. When crops are grown, they take nutrients from the soil and turn it to green matter. When the crops are harvested and taken away, they deprive the soil of the nutrients, which can only be replenished using composite manure. Using chemical fertilizers only provides what is needed for the next crop yield and so in the end they cause soil degradation.
Tilling of land is also known to contribute a lot towards the degradation of soil. After plowing, the soil is left bare as old organic matter is buried under the soil leaving the soil bare and thus increasing erosion. To avoid this, it is advisable to plow along the contours as opposed to up and down the hill. It is also advisable to leave some chunks of untilled land in between the tilled land to arrest erosion due to flowing water. One can also plant cover crops after harvesting which should hold the soil together with their roots and thus reduce erosion. (Mason 23-67)