Have you ever thought about what’s within the soil that enables plants to survive re, produce, and complete their life cycle? What is the source of all the vitamins and minerals in your breakfast cereals, cornflakes, and the bread you use for your sandwiches? The majority of nutrients come from the soil!
Plants require 17 vital nutrients to perform their normal physiological functions. Of these, three are found in water and air: carbon (C) and hydrogen (H), as well as oxygen (O). The remaining 14 nutrients originate from the soil.
It is the soil sample before analysis. Farmers collect these cores and other soil samples and send them to labs for analysis of nutrients. This lets them apply the correct amount of fertilizer to achieve the highest yield. Credit: Rishi Prasad
It is not the case that all plants require these nutrients in equal amounts. Certain nutrients like nitrogen (N) Phos,phorus (P), and potassium (K) are needed in higher quantities than others. They are known as primary macronutrients. They also require other nutrients but in smaller amounts, such as magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca), as well as sulfur (S), which are referred to as secondary macronutrients. There is a third class of nutrients, called micronutrients, that plants need called micronutrients, that plants need in tiny quantities. They include boron (B) as well as chlorine (Cl) as well as copper (Cu) as well as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) nic,kel (Ni), and zinc (Zn).
Since human beings cannot perceive, feel, or count nutrients with their eyes, we depend on instruments used in soil testing labs to gauge them.
How can farmers ensure enough nutrients in their soil to produce a healthy crop?
Farmers rely on soil tests to determine the additional nutrients needed to ensure a successful crop. The restriction of a particular nutrient could affect the total yield of the crop.
A soil auger is utilized to break up soil in an area. It is pushed out, forming a replica of the earth for each step of the core instead of making the core and mixing it to create one homogenous mass. Credit: Rishi Prasad
German scientist Justus von Liebig proposed the “Law of the Minimum” in the 19th century. The German scientist Justus von Liebig proposed the law in the 19th century. It says that if any one of the nutrients for plants is not present, the plant’s growth is affected, even if all other vital nutrients are abundant.
This is why, every year after harvesting the cash crops, farmers gather soil samples ranging from between 4 and 6 inches deep at various farm locations. They take samples to a soil testing laboratory to be analyzed.
When a laboratory for soil testing receives soil samples, the lab can dry, grind, and then sieve the soil to make it uniform before conducting the tests. They then run the tests that measure the quantity of soil nutrients. The results reveal information about the capacity of soil nutrients to supply incl, including potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients.
In the laboratory, scientists dry soil, crush it and then sieve it to analyze nutrients. Then, they produce a report distributed to farmers to determine whether they should fertilize. Farmers submit samples for testing every one or two years. Credit: ESA Staff
The data revealing the amount of nutrients is assessed. Following the completion of the analysis, an expert, such as a soil scientist, evaluates the results and information on what crops require specific types of nutrients to flourish. They make recommendations about what nutrients are found in the soil and what additional fertilizer will be required for optimal yields based on the crop to be planted.