Meaning of Fallow


Fallow, originating from the Latin term vervactum, is a notion that allows naming the land that is destined for cultivation but that is not sown for more than a year in order to recover its best conditions.

The fallow is the result of the action of fallow, which consists of plowing the soil without sowing it so that it can rest. The purpose of the fallow is to avoid the overexploitation of the natural resource.

The original populations of the American continent already appealed to the fallow in ancient times. On the European continent, the technique began to become popular from the Middle Ages.

Through the fallow, the cultivation and rest cycles are combined. In this way it is sought that the soil does not lose its qualities. Generally, during the fallow the land is plowed but not cultivated. This allows to eliminate weeds (which are used as fertilizer) and increase the humidity of the soil, favoring the recovery of minerals that are lost with the crop.

It is important to note that the fallow land is not left abandoned or inactive, but is subjected to different tasks that serve to help it recover its nutrients so that it is possible to sow in it during the following season. There is, on the other hand, the concept of stubble, which does refer to the plot of land that is not worked in any way between two specific crops.

Broadly speaking, it is possible to distinguish between two types of fallows, long and short: in the first group are those that contemplate a long period of time between one crop and another, so that the land can fully recover; the short fallow, on the other hand, does not exceed two years of rest, which is why the land cannot be regenerated 100 percent.

This classification is associated with certain names that are part of the jargon of farmers. For example: if we speak of fallow of the year and time, we are referring to the one that allows the land to rest for a year; the third fallow, on the other hand, is one in which two years of rest are contemplated for each one of cultivation.

In addition to the time that the land is allowed to rest, there is the way in which the fallow is applied, and this gives rise to a new classification. The herbaceous fallow is the one that consists of abandoning the land completely, that is, not maintaining it in any way while it is left to rest (what is previously described as stubble); the tilled fallow is just the opposite.

You can also speak of a seeded fallow, if something is sown during the process (which can include legume species such as yeros, vetch, chickpeas or lentils, which help enrich the soil), or white fallow, if it is not sown. nothing.

At present, in most agro-industrial farms fallow is not practiced since it is intended to obtain profits constantly, regardless of the destruction of the soil; one of the few exceptions is extensive agriculture, which tends to practice fallow in conjunction with crop rotation systems. Instead, indigenous peoples tend to keep fallow to balance the use of natural resources and minimize pressure on the ground.

The expression “sign fallow”, on the other hand, refers to initiating something without reading or examining it. For example: “The lawyer made me sign the contract in fallow.

Finally, it is also called fallow, the soft brown color that is associated with the tonality of the fallow land.