Whether it is a small scale or large scale farming, the ultimate goal is to achieve economically feasible profits/yield. This requires good crop production management practices like preparation of land, seed selection, usage of fertilizers, etc. Usage of fertilizers is one of the processes adopted by farmers to increase the yield. But their overuse can lead to loss of capital in addition to crop loss. Farmers are not much aware of fertilizers and their effect, especially in developing regions.
A soil is the primary resource of nutrients like minerals for the crop. But some types of soil are not rich in minerals, some are infertile. Even repeated farming can result in loss of fertility of the soil. In such cases, the soil is to be replenished with nutrients from the external source.
Manuring and Fertilizers
Manuring is the process of addition of natural or chemical sources of nutrients for the crop. Natural sources include dead wastes of plants, human and animal excreta and other wastes. These on decomposition give organic products called organic manure or simply manure. Fertilizers are chemical compounds which include salts or organic compounds like urea, ammonium sulfate, sodium nitrate etc. They are the sources of plant nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Fertilizers are commercial products mainly manufactured in factories.
They have enhanced the yield spontaneously. Chemical fertilizers should be used in optimum amount with great care. Their excess use may lead to soil infertility, water pollution, and even cause disease. Overall, it damages the crop. Hence it is advisable to use organic manure instead of chemical fertilizers. Manure improves the water holding capacity, aeration, and texture of the soil. These lead to the development of a new method of farming called organic farming where only organic fertilizers, pesticides, etc. are used.
Other alternative methods for soil replenishment are vermicomposting, crop rotation, growing of leguminous plants. Vermicompost or Vermiculture is the compost obtained by the activities of various strains of earthworms on organic wastes. These are used as manure. Crop rotation is an ancient method where different types of crops are cultivated in alternate years. This increases the mineral content of the soil. In some regions, leguminous plants like pea plants are used in crop rotation. Leguminous root nodules consist of nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Rhizobium. These bacteria fix nitrogen in the soil. Soil replenishment is essential for healthy growth of the crop.
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