Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Use

Tom Miles

Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Use
Krishniworld, The Pulse of Indian Agriculture

Plant nutrition and the soil-plant system. The key-role of fertilizers and their judicious use in crop husbandry is well understood, when one is familiar with the general facts about plant nutrition. It is now known that at least 16 plant-food elements are necessary for the growth of green plants. These plant-nutrients are called essential elements. In the absence of any one of these essential elements, a plant fails to complete its life cycle, though the disorder caused can, however, be corrected by the addition of that element.These 16 elements are: Carbon(C), hydrogen(H), oxygen(O), nitrogen(N), phosphorous(P), sulphur(S), potassium(K), calsium(Ca),magnesium(Mg), iron(Fe), manganese(Mn), zinc(Zn), copper(Cu), molybdenum(Mb), boron(B) and chlorine(Cl). Green plants obtain carbon from carbon-di-oxide from the air; oxygen and hydrogen from water, whereas the remaining elements are taken from the soil. Based on their relative amounts, normally found in plants, the plant nutrients are termed as macronutrients, if large amounts are involved, and micronutrients, if only traces are involved. The micronutrients essential for plant growth are iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine. All other essential elements listed above are macronutrients.