Soil Fertility Explained | Factors affecting Soil Fertility

soil fertility NABARD Grade A

Soil fertility is the capacity of soil to supply nutrient in available to crop. It is the ability of the soil to supply essential plant nutrients during growth period of the plants, without toxic concentration of any nutrients. It is a manageable soil property and its management is of utmost importance for optimizing crop nutrition on both a short-term and a long-term basis to achieve sustainable crop production. It is the key to sustainable agriculture. Good natural or improved soil fertility is essential for successful cropping

Soil is one of the key factors affecting plant growth. The major functions of the soil are to provide plants with nutrients, water and oxygen. The soil qualities which affect crop growth are:

  • Nutrient availability
  • Nutrient retention capacity
  • Rooting conditions
  • Oxygen availability to roots
  • Excess salts
  • Toxicity
  • Workability

Soil Fertility vs. Soil Productivity

As defined earlier, Soil Fertility is the capacity of soil to supply nutrient in available to crop. On the other hand, Soil productivity the crop producing capacity of soil. Thus, all the productive soils are fertile but all the fertile soils may not be productive

Soil Nutrients

The plant requires many essential nutrients. Plants obtain the primary and secondary nutrients and some micro nutrients solely from the soil. Soil fertility acts as a ‘SINK’ where in plants can draw nutrients for maximum yield

The problems of fertility cannot be solved by mere supply of plant food nutrients, but their efficient management is also very important aspect since the fertilizer is one of the costliest inputs.

Factors affecting Soil Fertility

The factors can be classified into:

  • Natural factors or Pedogenic factors: Natural factors are those which influence the formation of the soil. These include Parent material, Climate and vegetation, Topography and age of soil
  • Edaphic factors or Soil management factors: These include the entire soil conditions and their management practices that are concerned with addition or removal of plant nutrients.

Soil Fertility Evaluation

The diagnosis of the nutrient status of the soil by using different techniques or methods is known as soil fertility evaluation. It helps in maintenance and improving soil productivity. It is the key for adequate and balanced fertilization in crop production

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