What are the Factors that Influence Soil Fertility?
In growing plants and crops in a loose layer of land, soil fertility is important. The expectation of growing plants and crops as food for both humans and livestock depends heavily on the soil's health and its proper fertilization.
However, soil fertility is a concept that not everyone is familiar with. For the average person, it is simply treated as part of the ground and grows plants, trees, and crops. Little is known that there are certain factors that actually influence and affect the actual success of their production.
The soil's overall health depends on these factors a lot. It could either make a good crop or plant production or not at all. In this piece, we discuss soil fertility as well as its productivity. Not only that, we dive deeper into the influential and affecting factors of the fertility of the soil.
Soil Fertility and Productivity
By definition, soil fertility shows the ability of the soil to provide the right amount and balance of nutrients that the growth of crops and plants are going to depend on. To optimize crop production, it is important to maintain fertile soil with the right combination of plant nutrients as well as an optimum soil pH.
Soil productivity is heavily dependent on the fertility of the soil. It shows the soil's ability to support plant and crop growth in its optimal environment. As it is dependent on the soil's fertility, high soil productivity would need the soil to be properly fertilized.
Keep in mind, however, that soil productivity can also be affected or influenced by other factors than the fertility of the soil. Even if the soil is fertile, the level of productivity can be disrupted by the presence of weeds and even certain farming methods.
Factors Influencing the Fertility of the Soil
Soil pH - After testing the soil, you determine the existing pH level of the soil. Along with that, you would discover the nutrients that are available that can be used for planting crops.
Organic matter - You can also increase the fertility of the soil by determining the presence of certain organic materials that contain nutrients in them. These can be reused for the next growing cycle.
Moisture content - The amount of moisture that resides in the soil can also influence soil fertility. Actual nutrients can be found in the soil solution and not the solid matrix. Therefore, it's more desirable to use soil with higher moisture content to increase and ensure its fertility.
Clay content - Through the soil's clay content, the cation exchange capacity (CEC) is determined. There are more nutrients present in soil with a higher CEC than its opposite. Low CEC indicates the possibility of easily losing nutrients by leaching.
Bulk density - Soil fertility also depends on its bulk density. As a rule of thumb, the soil to be used should not be compacted. Or else, it can easily obstruct root penetration. If this happens, it's going to be difficult for the roots to reach the nutrients it needs.
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