Processes to replenish soil fertility:
Soil fertility is usually defined as the ability of soil to provide all essential nutrients to plant in available form and in balance amount.
In modern agriculture, the use of different synthetic fertilizers for the better production of crop causes the deterioration of natural fertility of soil. The use of traditional cropping system also a huge reason of low fertility and ultimately low yield. When a crop is growing continuously in a specific place, after a certain time, the yield started decrease. This is due to the less nutrients available to plants (low soil fertility) which is necessary for its growth and development. There are different methods to replenish the soil fertility, such as:
By growing leguminous crops:
The scientists mostly said that the growing of leguminous crops once in a season helps the increase in soil fertility as well as better production of a crop because these crops have ability to fix the atmospheric nitrogen for plants. The leguminous crops fix nitrogen through the nodules present on the roots. The rhizobium bacteria which is present in the nodules helps in the N fixation. Legume plants are mostly high in protein contents as it helps the soil to:
- Improve the organic matter in the soil.
- Improve the soil porosity.
- Helps in the recycling of nutrients.
- Improve the soil structure.
- Improve the microbes life in the soil.
- Improve the water holding capacity of the soil.
The leguminous crops have mostly short life cycle(mostly 80 days). These crops can also be grown as inter-crop with the major crop. By growing the leguminous crops , the requirement of synthetic fertilizers decreased, hence the cost of production decreased and income of the farmer increased.
Crop rotation minimize the depletion of nutrients in the soil. It provide facility to plants for the better utilization of nutrients which helps in the better yield.
By applying waste material:
The use of waste material is known as the composting. Composting is the better way to enhance the nutrients in the soil. It is done by applying the waste material like plant wastes, leaves, garbage and animal manure etc. For composting, the optimum temperature is 130 -170 degree F. In this process, carbon to nitrogen ratio is kept balanced.
Use of cover cropping:
It is also known as mulching. This process is helpful for the enhancement of nutrients in the soil.
By using leaf humus:
This is the type of composting. The leave humus is allowed to compost, which helps in the better amendment of soil. It also helps in the balancing the pH level of soil.
By adding Manure:
FYM is the best source of nutrients in the soil as it provides nitrogen as well as phosphorus to the soil. It also provides potassium to the soil. The manure may be of animal manure or bird manure, both provide the macro nutrients to the soil in the balance amount which helps in the increase in the organic matter in the soil. Mostly the animal manure(cow manure) provides the 15 pounds of N, 10 pounds phosphorus and 7-8 pounds of potassium.
There are different methods to replenish the soil fertility. If the fertility of soil will higher, then the production of crop will be higher. But if the fertility level of soil is low, then ultimately yield will be low. Hence, there is a direct relationship between the crop production and soil fertility.
Written by: Khadija Tehseen Arshad