What makes soil good for agriculture


Fertile soils are able to provide the nutrients required for plant growth. These are the chemical components of soil. Some plants need certain nutrients in large amounts, like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are called macronutrients.Aug 28, 2012

What qualities make good soil?

Some characteristics of healthy soils include good soil tilth, good soil drainage, large population of microorganisms, sufficient (but not excessive) levels of essential nutrients, and low weed pressure.

Which soil is most important for agriculture?

Porous loamy soilsPorous loamy soils are the richest of all, laced with organic matter which retains water and provides the nutrients needed by crops. Sand and clay soils tend to have less organic matter and have drainage problems: sand is very porous and clay is impermeable.

What makes the soil fertile?

A fertile soil will contain all the major nutrients for basic plant nutrition (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), as well as other nutrients needed in smaller quantities (e.g., calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, nickel).

What is the importance of soils?

Soil is our life support system. Soils provide anchorage for roots, hold water and nutrients. Soils are home to myriad micro-organisms that fix nitrogen and decompose organic matter, and armies of microscopic animals as well as earthworms and termites.

What Type of Soil is best for Agriculture?

Having established the superiority of loam, let us explain to you why we say so. Loam is roughly composed of approximately 60%, 30%, and 10% sand, clay, and silt particles, respectively.

Evaluating your Soil

So far, we have answered the fundamental question of what type of soil is best for agriculture. However, the soil’s ability to support healthy plant life is determined by its physical, chemical and biological composition.

Managing Your Soil

While you might be concerned about what type of soil is best for agriculture, it also vital for you to understand the importance of taking care of your soil.

For Best Results

By now, we know how to have and keep soil fit for healthy plant life. In enhancing productivity, there are tips on how to make a vegetable garden grow faster. You need a high quality soil with adequate nutrients.

Amazing Tips for Determining Soil Type

Since we already know what type of soil is best for agriculture and how to take care of it let us look at some of the quick methods you can use to determine your garden’s soil type. Get a soil sample from the field and eliminate unorthodox particles like rocks and wood.


Loamy soils are considered the jackpot for agriculture. To achieve the best results in farming, it is essential to test the properties of your soil, which you can do yourself using home soil test kits.

Why is soil important for plants?

Soil is essential to plant productivity. Healthy soil is the foundation of successful agriculture and, on a different level, the existence and stability of productive societies.

What is soil made of?

What is soil? Soil is an aggregate of four basic components: mineral solids, water, air and organic matter. Depending on how much of each is present in soil determines what makes good soil for growing crops for human and animal consumption, or for flowers that will adorn the dining room table.

What is soil management?

Soil management practices are very dependent upon farm-specific conditions such as soil type and the kind of crop to be grown. Each situation must be considered independently. For most of mankind’s history the land on which we grow crops must have appeared to be inexhaustible. But no longer is that the case.

What is the soil color of flower beds?

The flower beds have soil that is dark in color and crumbly and loaded with earthworms. (As a matter of fact, using worms for composting is an excellent way to improve the quality of soil.) The soil drains very quickly after a summer thunderstorm and the plants that grow there are vigorous.

What is soil testing?

Testing of soils for chemical, biological and physical attributes is a useful tool that will help determine the health of soils. Check with your local ag extension agent or local soil conservation district for more information about soil testing.

Why is soil degradation bad?

Soil degradation can result from the overuse of heavy farming equipment that compacts soils and makes it impossible for roots to grow. The lack of rotating crops over time will eventually deplete the soil of essential nutrients. Poor drainage will drown out root systems.

What is the texture of soil?

The texture of a soil is a good indication of its health. Soil texture is usually classified as clay, clay loam, loam, sandy loam, or sand. Any of the three loams are generally the most desirable types and most productive soils. Loams tend to have the best soil characteristics that allow for good drainage, aggregate stability, …

What is soil in agriculture?

For us (from the agricultural point of view) it is an unconsolidated mineral or organic material that is on the surface of the earth in which we grow plants.

How to improve sandy soil?

There are different solutions to enhance sandy soil performance. One of them is to add more of the organic matter content. The organic matter is a mixture of living and recently dead materials such as previous crop residue, livestock waste or simple organic matter, such as leaves. The organic matter does two things for our soil.

What type of soil is the most fertile?

It shows you what kind of soil you are working on by taking into consideration the soil’s components. Loam is the most fertile type of soil and has a mixture of these components. For example, a more sandy soil will have a high hydraulic conductivity and a low water holding capacity.

What determines the texture of soil?

All the above-mentioned properties determine the texture of soil. Every soil is a mixture of three main components: sand, clay and silt. A very useful tool to verify a given soil texture is the soil textural triangle that you can see on the right. It shows you what kind of soil you are working on by taking into consideration the soil’s components.

Why does clay flood?

Sometimes when there is a compacted layer of clay underground it can lead to flooding after heavy storms. Water does not have anywhere to go in such a short time, so its level goes higher and eventually floods our plants. Moreover a higher percentage of clay and silt in the soil will increase the cation exchange capacity .

What happens if you add too much organic matter to soil?

If there is too much of it, in addition to supplying plants with too much nutrients it will start oxidizing, which provides an additional supply of nutrients .

Is soil a key element in agriculture?

We all know that soil is a key element of agriculture. Without it we wouldn´t be able to grow plants, which are used as food for both humans and animals. In this blog post I would like to focus a little bit more on the technical side of soil and explain some of its chemical and physical properties. There are different definitions …

Why is soil important to the Earth?

The soil is the best natural resource available to us. It is vital for our survival on the earth. The topsoil which is desirable for the growth of plants is eroded because of human activities like making of homes, roads, buildings and city expansions.

What is the role of soil in the growth of plants?

Soil fertility. Fertile soil aids the growth of plants. As a result, these plants produce important needs to humans like clothing, food, medicine and furniture. Even other insects and animals get food by pasturing on plants.

What is the soil loaded with?

The soil is loaded with fulvic acid, and this means all of the alfalfa, barley, oat and wheat grass greens are packed with minerals, enzymes, and vitamins. Unluckily we belong to the generation where we have accustomed to neglect balanced soil contact by foot. Most of us are unaware of the touch, feel and properties of the soil.

What is the mineral that soil provides?

A source of medicines. Soil provides us with some essential mineral medicines like iron (hemoglobin), calcium (bones), bentonite (laxati v e) and other materials like steatite for cosmetics, talcum powders or petroleum jelly.

Why are soil layers important?

On the other side, the soil layers are significant for soil microbiology, soil fertility and different soil organic matter which is contaminated and polluted deliberately because of industrial and agricultural pollution.

What is soil microbiology?

Soil Microbiology. It gives support for the endurance of many algae, bacteria, fungi etc. these microbes and bacteria live in the soil and aid in environmental balance like holding back moisture, decomposition of dead plants and dead bodies of animals etc., cleaning of waste and other harmful chemicals including plastic.

What are the minerals in soil?

The soil is a source of minerals. Minerals and mines existing in the soil are a source of multiple metals like bauxite, iron, zinc etc. various metal elements are fused with soil and thus extracted from soil by technical methods.

What is the soil needed for agriculture?

For most agricultural activities, the soil needs to be of medium density content texture, should be well drained, and should have rich organic matter and nutrients in it.

What is the most fertile soil?

Mollisol. Mollisol is one of the most fertile soils in the world. It contains very high organic content as the land where the soil belongs used to be grassland for a very long period. When dry, mollisol has a granular structure and soft consistency. It possesses good moisture retention capacity.

What is andisol soil?

Andisol is light and well drained, making it ideal for root crops and long-term crops as well . About 1 percent of earth’s surface contains andisol. Alfisol soil is formed beneath the forest tree cover and is common to the humid subtropical and continental climates. The porous nature, high particle surface area and the water holding capacity make it …

Why is alfisol good for soil?

It is preferred for its high base status and high water holding capacity. The rich clay content, good moisture balance and fertility make alfisol a very productive soil. Alfisol forms about 10 percent of the earth’s soil surface.

Where is alfisol soil found?

The Natural Resources Conservation Service states that alfisols are extensively found in the United States covering a total of 13.9 percent area. The subsoil is moist and filled with nutrients.

Is andisol good for agriculture?

The porous nature, high particle surface area and the water holding capacity make it an ideal type of soil for agriculture. Since a major portion of andisols is made up of ash, it is rich in organic and mineral nutrients. Andisol is light and well drained, making it ideal for root crops and long-term crops as well.

Is oxisol a clayey soil?

Oxisol is clayey, but has poor nutrient retaining capability. High content of iron and aluminum oxides, low pH values and phosphorous deficiency create nutrient problems for oxisol. By utilizing more fertilizers, a variety of crops are cultivated in this soil.

What is the role of soil in crop growth?

Soil fertility. Soil fertility is the ability of a soil to provide the nutrients needed by crop plants to grow. The primary nutrients plants take up from soils include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Frequently, we need to supplement soil nutrients by adding fertilizer, manure or compost, for good crop growth.

Why is fertile soil important?

Fertile soil provides essential nutrients to plants. Important physical characteristics of soil structure and aggregation allow water and air to infiltrate, and roots to explore. Soil health and soil quality are terms used interchangeably to describe soils that are not only fertile but also possess beneficial physical and biological properties.

Why do plants not grow well in compacted soil?

Plants do not grow well in compacted soils because there is less space between soil particles for roots to grow into.

Why do plants have difficulty growing in compacted soil?

Soils can become compacted at the surface, but also at the layer of soil just below the depth of tillage (subsoil compaction). Plants have difficulty growing in compacted soil because the soil aggregates are pressed together, leaving little pore space for air and water, which are essential for root growth.

How can farmers protect soil from erosion?

Farmers can protect soils from erosion by limiting the time when there is bare soil in the field, improving soil structure, and by managing tillage, irrigation and crop rotation.

What is soil water holding capacity?

Soil water holding capacity is the amount of water that a given soil can hold and then make available for crop use. Water holding capacity is largely determined by soil texture and by the amount of pore spaces in the soil, where water and air can be found.

What is soil texture?

Soil texture. Soil texture is an important soil characteristic that influences many aspects of soil quality. The textural class of a soil is determined by the percentage of sand, silt, and clay. Soils are usually made up of a mix of the three particle sizes.

What is good soil?

Good soil is crumbly, like cookie crumbs scattered over the top of an ice cream sundae. That crumbly texture takes work, and we’ll talk more about that in a minute. Plenty of organic matter: Organic matter is just dead plant and animal tissue, which decomposes and enriches your soil as humus. Humus is wonderful because it helps improve your soil’s …

How to increase soil fertility in garden?

Grass clippings, shredded autumn leaves, aged manure, coffee grounds –all of it will help your garden’s soil increase in fertility, water retention, and improved texture. Adjust your soil’s pH: Once you have your soil tested, you’ll know whether you have a pH imbalance.

Why is organic matter important for plants?

It also improves your soil’s ability to both absorb and drain moisture. Finally, organic matter helps provide nutrients to your plants. Microorganisms help break down the organic matter into its basic elements, which enables plants to absorb it and use it.

How to reduce acidity in soil?

Generally, the report you receive from your extension service will have recommendations for improving the pH of your soil. The addition of plenty of organic matter will often help this as well.

Why is no digging gardening so popular?

Disrupt soil as little as possible: No-dig or no-till gardening is becoming more popular, partially because it reduces the amount of work the gardener has to do, but also because we understand more about the soil food web. The more we disrupt the soil, the more we disrupt the ecosystem in our soil.

How to get rid of earthworms in garden?

Add organic matter to the top inch or two of soil, or just lay it right on top of your garden and let the earthworms work it in for you. With these tips, you will see a vast improvement in the quality of your soil, and, therefore, in the health and beauty of your plants.

Which is better for gardening: clay or loam?

Sandy soil: Sandy soil is definitely easier to work than clay soil–but it has the opposite problems: it often drains too quickly and is less able to retain nutrients. Loam: This is an ideal garden soil. Crumbly, full of organic matter, retains moisture …

What is soil health?

The USDA NRCS defines soil health as “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.”.

What are the organisms that feed the soil?

Organisms including bacteria, nematodes, arthropods, insects, and earthworms simultaneously work together to feed the soil.

How does tillage affect soil?

Tillage destroys a soil’s structure and infrastructure, which can take years to repair. Stopping tillage gives the soil a chance to recover and rebuild the community of soil life that breaks down crop residues to improve organic matter.

What do Toussaints grow?

The Toussaints grow corn, soybeans, sunflowers, and small grains (including wheat, winter rye, or barley) and try to use cover crops in every part of their rotation. They seed covers after wheat harvest, interseed corn into cover crops, and companion-crop sunflowers to support beneficial insects and to manage weeds.

Where does topsoil blow off?

More importantly, topsoil stays put on their fields. For years, the Toussaints watched topsoil blow off of farm fields and into road ditches in North Dakota and Minnesota. “That is an eye-opener,” says Brad Toussaint. “I keep thinking about future generations to farm.

Does water infiltrate soil?

“If we can get the soil to hold together in the presence of water, water will infiltrate. That tells us we’re going to have better aggregate stability, better biological activity – which translates to better nutrient cycling – and fewer nutrients will be lost to leaching,” explains Doug Peterson, NRCS soil health specialist.

Is fertile soil healthy?

Fertile soils contain many nutrients, but they aren’t as productive as healthy soils that contain the same amount of nutrients, explains Ray Ward, founder of Ward Laboratories, Kearney, Nebraska. Healthy soils have more soil life that makes the soil community hum. “A fertile soil has plenty of nutrients,” he says. “Healthy soils produce high yield, yet they may be high or low fertility.”


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