In this blog, you are going to know all details of the advantage of green manure. With all details of different Green Manure crops, let’s become experts in the advantages of Green Manure.
What Is Green Manure?
Green manuring is the practice of mixing green tissue in the soil to increase the strength of the soil, improve the fertility of the soil.
Also best for the physical structure of the soil. The process by which we convert green plants into manures is called green manuring. And The plant we use in this process is called green manure.
In agriculture practice, farmers used to grow green manure crops before principal crop and after leaf and twigs grow properly.
That crop will be ploughed into the soil. With this practice, the soil will get organic matter and nutrients.
They will grow manure crops a certain time before the major crop, they do this practice to improve the soil strength and protect the soil.
History Of Green Manuring
We can directly relate the history of green manure to the two countries. First in India and the second in Greece.
In India, they practiced for thousands of years. One of the ancient Indian books, named “Vrikshayurveda” mentioned the benefit of green manures and how to use green manure to boost soil fertility.
According to many ancient documents, Farmers of Greece use legume crops like beans, loabia, red gram for green manuring. They used to plough these crops before the cultivation of the principal crop to provide nutrition and strength to the soil.
In the ancient china books, there are hints of green manures, and they have written about the Advantages of Green Manure as the advantage of weeds and grasses how they provide nutrition to the soil.
In ancient times, farmers understand the importance and advantages of Green Manure they used to grow green manure between the crop cycle they follow.
In all seasons, farmers used to grow green manures between the season as they will grow before rabi crops and after that, before Kharif crops, they follow this cycle to provide strength to the soil and to get ready for new crops.
Advantage of Green Manure Crops In Our Feild
- Green Manure improves soil structure
- Nitrogen fixation in soil
- Improvement in soil microbial activities
- Enhance Effect of other nutrients
- Suppress the growth of weeds
- Suitable habitat for pollinators & Predators
- Conserve soil and water
- Yield gets increased
- Reduce loss of nutrient
- Disease Control
Check the detailed Advantages of Green Manure.
1. Green Manure improves soil structure
After adding the green manure to the soil, you can see many types of advantages of Green Manure in the soil and one of them is the improvement of physical structure in the soil, we know green manures for their ability to improve the tilth and structure of the soil. For heavy soil and for light soil, it functions differently.
In heavy soil, green manure help in the formation of crumbs, improves the aeration of the soil and facilitates drainage. In light soil, green manure helps to improve the water holding facility.
By using green manure, the temperature of the soil will be in control, and overheating will not damage the soil structure.
2. Nitrogen fixation in soil
Nitrogen fixation is one of the biggest advantages of Green manure. Leguminous green manure crops have nodules in the roots, which carry nitrogen-fixing bacteria that can fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil.
Farmer uses leguminous green manure crops in the crop cycle just before the crop, which requires more amount of nitrogen and, with leguminous green manure crops 20% to 30% requirement will accomplish.
Green manure can fix up to 60 to 100kg nitrogen per hectare. Some of the common examples of leguminous green manure crops are Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), Berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum), Pigeon pea (Cajanus Cajan) etc.
3. Improvement in soil microbial activities
It is also one of the very important advantages of Green Manure. By applying green manure in the field, the population of useful microbes increases very fast, and we all know that microbes keep the soil alive.
The structure of the soil becomes loose, with good aeration. This will increase microbial activities in the soil.
4. Enhance Effect of other nutrients
Green Manure makes the soil healthy. Increased aeration in the soil also improves the structure of the soil, and we know green manure for its slow release of the nutrient ability it will decompose slowly and provide nutrients to the crop.
Green manure translocates the nutrients upward from the deep zone of the soil to the sub root zone.
With this, it will be easily available to the plants. Leguminous green manure crops add nitrogen other than this it will help the soil reclaim other nutrients.
5. Suppress the growth of weeds
One of the major abilities of green manure is growth. Crops that we select for green manure Leguminous green manure crop or non Leguminous green manure are fast-growing.
They will easily suppress the growth of weeds and not allow to compete with the principal crop for space, sunlight and nutrients.
6. Suitable habitat for pollinators & Predators
Pests are one of the most common problems for crops, and the solution for this is a natural predator. Green manure provides suitable habitat for the predators, by using green manure, the moisture content of the soil will increase and moist soil is a suitable place to hide predators and hunt for harmful insects.
Some of the important predators like spiders, predator bugs, predator mites, lacewings, beetles, hover-flies can easily hide in the green manure crop and hunt for insects that damage the crop.
There are many common insects that work as pollinators & Predators both and for these types of helpful insects, green manure provides the best and most suitable habitat. Insects like Ladybird beetles, Lacewings, Syrphid (Hover) fly larvae, Praying mantids are helpful in pollination and work as predators as well.
7. Conserve soil and water
It is one of the major advantages of Green Manure. We all know green manure increase the water holding capacity of the soil and with this moisture will conserve in pores of the soil. During the rainy season, green manures reduce run-off and soil erosion.
And some of the green manure crops like Fava bean (Vicia faba), Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus), Soybean (Glycine max), Stylo (Stylosanthes guianensis) etc are grown to reduce run-off and soil erosion.
8. Yield gets increased
The scientists did many types of experiments to check the authenticity of the green manure crop. In every research and practical, they get a positive result about green manure crop ?
Many research shows green manure increase the crop yield by 30% to 60% it can vary from crop to crop or type of green manure crop as well.
Cereal crops like wheat, rice etc show extraordinary results with green manuring and some Cash crops like cotton, maize etc also show a very positive result for green manuring their yield also increased. This is one of the biggest advantages of green manure.
9. Reduce loss of nutrient
Another major advantage of Green Manure crops is that it protects the nutrients from leaching to the lower layers of the soil.
Green manure improves the soil structure, increases the water-holding capacity of the soil, improves the tilth of the soil with all this improvement in soil, leaching of the nutrients to the lower layer reduce.
10. Disease Control
There are many soil-borne diseases like damping-off, root rot, vascular wilt, etc. for all these diseases, unhealthy soil is responsible, we can easily control the different soil-borne diseases just by keeping soil healthy and green manure is the best way to keep soil in condition.
Other Small Advantage of Green Manure Crops
- It will increase the solubility of important trace elements.
- Increase the nutrient content of the crop ex after use of green manuring in rice crop protein and vitamin A increased in grains of rice.
- We see it in many research P2O5, Ca, Mg and Fe content increased in the field after green manuring.
- Organic content in the soil increases.
Advantage of Green Manure Crops According To uses
- Green manure which protects soil from erosion and run-off work as a cover crop.
- Green manure crops that compete with weeds for space, nutrients, and sunlight are known as Smother crops.
- We know crops that are grown for nitrogen fixation as leguminous green manure crops.
- Break Crops are the type of green manure crops that provide suitable habitat for Predators, which protect our crops from disease and insects
Green Manure crops
It is very important to know what types of Green Manure crops we used to grow and what is the benefit of growing these crops. We are also going to list how to choose Green Manure crops to grow before the principal crop, and what are the advantages of the green manure crop.
we can easily divide green manure crops into two categories first one is Leguminous green manure crops and the second one is Non-leguminous green crops.
|Leguminous green manure crops are||How Farmer Use them.|
|Sannhemp (Crotalaria juncea):-||Farmers grow them as green manures to provide nutrition to the soil and suppress the growth of the weed. They mainly grow it in the crop cycle.|
|Dhaincha (Sesbania bispinosa):-||The most common green manure crop grown by farmers all over the world provides strength to the soil.|
|Mung (Vigna radiata):-||known for its nitrogen-fixing ability, fast-growing green manure crop read all details below the table about this crop.|
|Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata):-||Grown as a green manure crop. provide fertility to the soil suppresses the growth of the weed.|
|Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba):-||Cultivated all over the world as green manure, the ability to fast-growing and suppress the growth of the weeds.|
|Senji (Melilotus parviflorus):-||Popular green manure crop which is grown in many countries, it provides nutrients to the soil.|
|Khesari (Lathyrus sativus ):-||Mainly grown in between crop rotation to provide nutrients and strength to the soil.|
|Berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum):-||very popular among the farmers as a green manure crop, fast-growing and get ready to incorporate into the soil after 3 to 6 cm height.|
|Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea):-||Provide strength and nutrition to the soil, control soil erosion as well.|
|Fava bean (Vicia faba):-||Fast-growing, provide good nutrition to the soil, also able to control soil erosion.|
|Hairy vetch, (Vicia villosa):-||Very uncommon green manure crops, grow fast and decompose easily.|
|Jackbean (Canavalia ensiformis):-||Farmers use this green manure crop in inter-cropping between crops like sugar and coffee, fast-growing suppresses the growth of weeds, and work as a cover crop.|
|Lab lab bean (Lablab purpureus):-||We know it as the green manure crop of the dry season. Grows well in the dry season, provides nutrients and fertility to the soil.|
|Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus):-||We also know this green gram crop for the ability to grow in the dry season, provide nutrients to the soil and also protect it from soil erosion.|
|Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan):-||Pigeon pea is a very common green gram crop first choice of farmers all over the world because they can grow it in the perennial alley cropping system where they used to use as fodder and green manure.|
|Rice bean (Vigna umbellata):-||Rice bean is a green gram crop mainly grown in the crop cycle before rice crop to provide nutrition and strength to the soil.|
|Soybean (Glycine max):-||Soybean is a leguminous crop known for its nitrogen-fixing ability. It is a fast-growing crop that also protects soil from erosion.|
|Stylo (Stylosanthes guianensis):-||Providing different nutrients to the soil, makes it fertile and protects soil from erosion.|
|Velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens):-||Mainly grown in the monsoon season to protect the soil from erosion and after that used as a green manure crop.|
|White sweet clover (Melilotus alba):-||We grew it with the principal crop, and it gets proper time to establish and improve the fallow. After harvesting, it gets incorporated into the soil.|
|White tephrosia (Tephrosia candida):-||We mainly grow it in inter-cropping with crops like rubber tobacco. It is fast-growing, so they use it as a cover crop to suppress weed growth.|
|Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus):-||rarely cultivated by the farmers as green manure, but it provides a good amount of nutrition to the soil. Also helpful in controlling erosion.|
Non-leguminous green manure crops ? are:
|Bhang (Cannabis Sativa):-||Bhang is used as a green manure crop all over the world. In Asian countries, it grows naturally in the empty field. After growing for 4 to 5 weeks, farmers will incorporate it into the field.|
|Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor):-||Sorghum is the perfect Non-leguminous green manure crop because it grows fast, tolerant to different weather and provides a good amount of nutrients to the soil as green manure.|
|Maize (Zea mays):-||Maize is not commonly used as the green manure crop but in some European countries farmers use maize for green manuring because there is a very favorable temperature for the growth of maize, it grows fast suppress the growth of the weed and farmers incorporate it in the field after 7 to 8 weeks of sowing.|
|Sunflower (Helianthus annuus):-||The wild variety of sunflower known as Tithonia diversifolia are used as green manure in the tomato crop. In African countries, it is used to provide strength and nutrition to the soil.|
|Weeds:-||There are some weeds, like Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus), Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), Trianthema (Trianthema portulacastrum), Ipomoea, Calotrophis, Cassia. These are very common weeds that farmers use as green manures. These weeds grow naturally in the empty field in between crops.|
These eight green manures crops used all over the world by the farmers
Green Manure crop Sannhemp (Crotalaria juncea) is a member of the pea family and it comes in leguminous crops. They grew it in many countries as green manure. The major reason behind choosing this crop is its fast-growing ability, and it is a drought-tolerant crop. It gets ready to incorporate in the soil in less than a month. We know it as a good nitrogen fixer crop. Farmers used to grow this Green Manure crop before paddy because of its nitrogen-fixing ability, we know it as fertilizer bean crop.
Dhaincha (Sesbania bispinosa):- We categorized it into the leguminous green manure crop because it contains a large amount of nitrogen. The farmer cultivates it all over the world because of its ability. Sesbania bispinosa is a fast-growing crop. This green manure crop grows completely in 50 to 60 days, after 50 to 60 days, farmers can incorporate it into the field. It provides nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to the soil. It provides more amount of nitrogen and potassium to the soil and a small amount of phosphorus as well. The seed rate required to grow one hectare of Dhaincha is 30 to 40 kg seeds.
Mung (Vigna radiata):- Mung bean is a leguminous crop. It can fix atmospheric nitrogen in the Soil. The reason behind choosing Mung as a Green Manure crop is its fast-growing ability. It can also tolerate adverse climatic, easily grow in the drought condition, it is tolerant to pests and disease. Another reason to choose Mung as a Green Manure is its ability to be easily incorporated into the soil and quickly decompose process to provide nutrition and strength to the soil. mung green manure crop gets ready in 4 to 6 weeks and provides nutrition to the soil.
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata):- Cowpea is a leguminous crop grown all over the world for its ability to provide nutrition and strength to the soil. Cowpea has nodules formed in the roots which contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria that have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. In 6 – 7 weeks, it gets ready to be incorporated into the soil. It provides strength to the soil and increases the nitrogen content in the soil.
Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba):- Guar is the vegetable crop used as cattle fodder and also for Green Manure crops. Farmers cultivate it all over the world. It adds nutrients to the soil and also increases the water-holding capacity of the soil. It gets ready in 7 to 8 weeks for incorporation into the soil. We will suggest waiting till the pod filling stage because it will provide more nutrients and strength to the soil if we incorporate it into the soil after pod filling.
Senji (Melilotus parviflorus):- English name of this crop is sweet clover. Farmers cultivate sweet clover all over the world as a Green Manure crop. It is an herb crop poisonous to some animals, but it is beneficial for the soil. Only 20 to 25 kg of seed is more than enough for a one-hectare field. It will produce 18 to 20 tons of green biomass, which is more than enough to provide nutrients and strength to one-hectare land.
Khesari (Lathyrus sativus):- Lathyrus is a very important crop. The farmer grows Khesari all over the world because of its nutritive value. They grow it for fodder and green manures. Mainly farmers grow for its fast-growing ability. It suppresses the growth of Weed. Farmers require only 70 to 80 kg of seeds per hectare is required. After 5 to 7 weeks of sowing, it is ready to incorporation into the soil. It decomposes fast and starts providing nutrients to the soil.
Berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum):- Berseem is a very popular green manure crop. Farmers cultivate berseem all over the world as green manure and for its beans that are used for human consumption. The growth rate of Berseem is quick. It suppresses the growth of the weeds, farmers grow it for the ability to fix nitrogen in the soils. It fixes 280 lbs./acre of nitrogen that is sufficient to provide strength and nutrition to the soil.
During writing the article about the Advantage of Green Manure, I have collected all my experience of green manures I gained during my graduation practicals in BSc agriculture and MSc education; I studied different research papers that are published on green manures, in last I gathered information from farmers with practical knowledge about the advantage of green manure.
- Green manures in agriculture writers are Sagar Maitra (Centurion University of Technology and Management), Tanuj Kumar Mandal (The Neotia University), Aftab Zaman (Centurion University of Technology and Management) Jnana Bharati Palai (Centurion University) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332556718_Green_manures_in_agriculture_A_review
- Green Manure for Soil Properties Improvement writer is Ade Sumiahadi (Universitas Muhammadiyah Jakarta) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348339295_Green_Manure_for_Soil_Properties_Improvement
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