Mulch with Plastic or Pasture
Using mulch with plastic or pasture between planting beds reduces erosion and the presence of pests and weeds. In turn, mulch contributes to a decreased need for pesticides.
Erosion can be greatly reduced by implementing practices that stabilizing drainage ditches. Through the years, Dole has found that using cover plants in the canals are the most effective way to reduce erosion, as well as protect or enhance the quality of the water draining from the farm.
Mechanical barriers are physical obstacles that can be installed into a farm’s drainage system to decrease erosion. Bamboo stakes make for efficient mechanical barriers due to their ability to capture soil and reduce the speed of water running through ditches.
Maps of the land’s soil are created to help identify which areas are particularly vulnerable to erosion and assist in determining the planting structure for the farm. Knowing this information enables the Company to take appropriate preventative measures and issue soil conservation recommendations based on this data.
Soil conservation practices at Dole include: contour cultivation and planting, broad-base preservation terraces, tailored tilling according to the soil’s characteristics, soil morphological analysis, detailed physical and chemical evaluations and lastly, returning soil trapped in barriers back into the fields.
Top-Soil Thickness Analyses
Dole analyzes the thickness of the top layers of soil at least twice a year. This data helps determine changes in soil structure and depth that can be used to adjust the Company’s conservation practices and maximize their effectiveness.