How To Maintain And Recover Soil Fertility of Your Land
This article is for you. Learn about the various aspects of soil fertility and how to recover it right here.
Soil Fertility of Your Land: How To Maintain And Recover It
Getting Agricultural Land is a great idea to grow your business or start farming practices. However, before taking any decision, you have to check the soil quality and fertility of the land. Or you’re someone who wants to improve the soil fertility of the land you already own?
What does soil fertility depend on? There are 3 basic factors to determine fertility: physical, chemical and biological; all equally important to obtain the desired level.
Adequate management of techniques for soil fertility is one of the great objectives of any farmer since his crops will grow properly and their yields or profits will not be diminished.
The Importance Of Soil Fertility
Although it may seem like just the place we step on or where the plants are placed, the reality is that fertile soil has the ability to provide the necessary water and nutrients for the plants that inhabit it. Therefore, soil fertility in agriculture is something to take into account for all those who work in the field.
Not only plants benefit from this, there are microorganisms and other living organisms, whose contribution is one more piece of the gear, and without which the entire ecosystem would collapse. That is why managing to maintain fertility at optimal levels is what will give good results, both in the short and long term.
Soil Fertility Types
There are different types of soil fertility, depending on which factor we consider. We can divide them into physical, chemical and biological fertility of the soil.
Soil Physical Fertility
Rocks and minerals are considered physical components, particles of them that over time became smaller and other elements such as clay or silt.
All these elements determine the composition and texture, as well as different processes that happen in it due to the climate, the topography or various living organisms, to name a few.
Soil Chemical Fertility
The chemical components include the pH of the soil, water and different mineral nutrients such as magnesium, calcium or zinc. The availability of them, along with a balanced pH is essential for the health of plants.
Among these minerals, there are 3 whose importance is greater:
● Nitrogen: Gives vigour to the leaves and favours the growth of the plant.
● Phosphorus: It is beneficial for the root system, and the development of shoots and seeds.
● Potassium: Strengthens the plant's metabolism and helps build resistance to pathogens.
Biological Soil Fertility
The biological component of the soil refers to all the living beings that influence it, from plants or fungi to bacteria and protozoa, including large animals, insects or earthworms.
Especially important are microbes, which, although not visible to the naked eye, are responsible for transporting water and nutrients, as well as recycling what is no longer valuable.
Soil Fertility Loss
The soil is a key piece in the development of agriculture, which is why the consequences of the loss of soil fertility are notorious since the plants will have nutritional deficiencies that, surely, will have a negative impact on the final yield. Not only that, the loss of compaction or shortage of accumulated water will also make it more difficult to recover it later.
Some of the causes of the loss of soil fertility are the following:
● Inappropriate use of agricultural techniques, such as:
○ Excessive use of pesticides and other chemicals;
○ excessive tillage;
○ Abandonment of the use of ancient techniques that serve to recover fertility;
○ Rotation of crops without scientific basis, mixing crops that do not match each other;
● Bad practices in the use of water.
● Different factors such as deforestation, overgrazing or poor waste management cause a reduction in soil fertility.
● The decrease in soil fertility is associated with a decrease in the amount of organic matter or a deterioration in its quality.
● Poor agricultural practices cause a low level of carbon, which affects water retention and even eliminates diseases.
● The physical, chemical and biological deterioration cause low fertility of the soil, causing the nutrients to not be used in their entirety.
● Factors unrelated to agriculture such as floods or earthquakes have an impact on fertility.
How To Maintain Soil Fertility?
The importance of soil fertility should not be underestimated. These are some of the measures that are adopted to preserve soil fertility.
It involves covering the soil with leaves or other organic material, a practice also known as mulching. In turn, erosion is decreased and moisture is held in place for longer. The fertility of the soil rises as there are more organisms aerating the soil and aiding in the production of nutrients.
Use of Cover Crops
By decaying their leaves, cover crops give nutrients and aid in aerating the soil. As an illustration, grass promotes structure while legumes produce nitrogen.
Use of Organic Matter
Using already-rotted manure boosts soil fertility by providing nutrients right away, but it's crucial to keep some disease-causing organisms from spreading when utilising prepared manure.
Constant tillage promotes more soil erosion and, as a result, reduced fertility because it exposes the lower layers, which are often those containing moisture and cause the water to evaporate.
Existing organic materials can decompose and give nutrients by minimising tilling.
Knowing what nutrients are required for it through analysis is helpful; because there are several varieties, varying amounts may be needed to maintain soil fertility. The kind will determine what crops may be planted and what kinds of chemical treatments can be used to get rid of pests and diseases.
Crop growth and the life of microorganisms are both favoured by a fertile soil that is healthy and balanced in nutrients.
Smart Use Of Fertilisers
The microorganisms in the soil that aerate it and offer nutrients are eliminated when there is an excess of fertiliser. Hence, using only the appropriate amount is convenient; this is usually known after performing a soil study.
How to Recover Soil Fertility?
While man can contribute to degradation, for instance by employing specific farming practices or pesticides, there are also inherent natural factors like erosion or salinization.
As per Agriculture Mortgages, Here are some ways to fix this and restore soil fertility:
Use Of Ecological Agriculture Techniques
These kinds of remedies can aid in minimising the harm done when working in the field. They include the use of cover crops, 100% organic manure, green manure (plant parts left in the soil), and crop rotation.
Soil Fertility Recovery
In order to restore fertility, it is necessary to remove the dangerous substances that have been deposited there, such as oil, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Using methods like phytoremediation or bioaugmentation, this sanitation is referred to as bioremediation.
Even though cleanup is a costly process, contaminated soil is hazardous to both the environment and individuals.
Desalination can occur when soluble salts build up close to a plant's roots for a variety of reasons, including inadequate drainage, limited rainfall in arid regions, exposure to certain chemicals, and/or salt water.
While salinization inhibits plant growth and yield, doing this process significantly boosts soil fertility.