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The Importance Of Responsible Nutrient Management To The Future Of Agriculture

1440 words - 6 pages

With the population expected to grow there is more of a demand for food and other goods, which come from agriculture. Farmers depend on the land to reap the benefits of what can be grown in the soil. Although it is important to produce as much as possible there is also a fine line between what is produced and the amount of the soil will be depleted. Famers and agriculturists will have to work harder then ever in the future to maintain the equilibrium between yields and conservation. The ecosystem of nutrients in the soil is very fragile and if farmers are not careful they will harm the ecosystem, which will cause farmers to loose yields and the world to loose its resources. Nutrient ...view middle of the document...

If any of these nutrients are do not occur naturally in the soil, a fertilizer form of the nutrient must be added.
Although fertilizers are very beneficial to increase crop yields, fertilizers are detrimental to the environment. Fertilizers give crops a synthetic energy source which when the energy is released inflicts a negative reaction in the form of nitrogen into the atmosphere. Frink (1999) states “humanity’s increase of fixation and mobilization of N by fertilization and combustion, it is feared, is increasing emission and thus deposition of N oxides and NH4-N”(pg. 1175). As humanity has more of a thirst for Nitrogen to boost crop yields the result will be nitrogen oxides released into the air which causes pollution. Although many developed countries have plateaued for an increase in Nitrogen, many developing countries still will need more nitrogen with the integration of different technologies to produce more yields. What may be best in the short run is not always best in the long run as an increase in yields will cause pollution of the air. If proper fertilizers are added to the soil though, the nutrients of the soil will increase which allows for higher yields.
Different tillage
Over time, different forms of how to tear up the ground have been implemented. Fields used to be conventional tilled which utilizes a variety of different cycles to go through fields to get them ready to be planted. This would take passes through the field with a plow, disk, mulcher, triple k and land-plane which result in the field’s loss of many important nutrients and water resources. As time went on, the advent of other tillage systems was experimented with. No-till farming is now accepted as a more efficient way to farm in the fact no-till farming retains many of the valuable resources needed. Research by Swędrzyńska et al. (2013) states, “The results of their experiments showed that the mean organic matter content in the examined surface layer of soil was by 32% higher in the no-tillage system in comparison with the ploughing system” (p. 1838). Since the ground is not worked so vigorously and the soil is not disturbed, nutrients underneath the soil are not exposed to the sun and therefore do not get killed by the sunlight. Organic matter in the soil is critical to the success of a plant because the plant feeds off of organic matter in the soil with its many nutrients. Since the ground is not disturbed in no till farming, yields can be increased and less fertilizers have to be added which leads to sustainability of nutrients.
Cover Crops
Another innovation that will help with nutrient management is cover crops. Cover crops are crops planted in fallow seasons when no other crops take up the resources so they can help maintain the soil. Cover crops help fertilize main crops when they add residue to the soil in the form of natural organic matter. Cover crops also mobilize and recycle ingredients while it improves soil structure and breaks up compacted...

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