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Biological & Biomedical Sciences
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Soil Requirements When Growing Crops Research Assignment (Essay Sample)


The student was required to write an essay on SOIL REQUIREMENTS WHEN GROWING CROPS. The sample is an essay on the topic.

    SOIL REQUIREMENTS WHEN GROWING CROPS               Name: Course Date:     Soil is a natural resource that plays a vital role in the growth and development of plants. It is useful in providing nutrients and water to the growing plants. In Sustainable Cropping Systems for the Northern Great Plains, Burgess, Macdonald Hugh points out that “soil is comprised of physical, chemical and biological properties that influence growth and development of plants.”[1]These properties vary from time to time depending on natural and human activities that take place. The activity of growing crops requires soil of high quality to realize maximum yields. All soil properties must be maintained at optimum levels to ensure consistent production of high yields Soil physical properties include soil texture and structure. They influence various processes that take place in the soil as well as affecting plant growth and development. For instance, the processes of water percolation and infiltration are affected by soil texture and structure. Aeration in the soil is also influenced by its compactness. When growing crops, it is necessary to consider the water-holding capacity of the soil. This implies that crops should be established on soils that have optimum water holding capacity suitable for that crop. Soils such as sand and clay are not suitable for growing crops. Sandy soil loses water at a high rate leading to a low level of water retention that is unsuitable for plant growth. Clay soil holds too much water leading to waterlogging. Sadras Victor and Daniel Calderini argue that the best soil to grow crops is the loamy soil because it has optimum water holding capacity that is suitable for plant growth.[2] Farmers are advised to maintain appropriate soil physical properties to ensure that plants grow and develop effectively. Plants require suitable biological condition in the soil so that they can thrive well. Research on soil biology that was conducted at the University of Phoenix indicates that macro organisms and microorganisms in the soil improve its fertility to a level that is suitable for plant growth[3]. For instance, earthworms play an important role in improving soil aeration. Microorganisms help in decomposing soil organic matter. Others such as Rhizobia bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil leading to an increased nutrient content in the soil. Farmers are encouraged to grow crops on soils that contain numerous macro and microorganisms. Soil chemical properties include salinity, nutrient content, and the pH. Research by Food and Agriculture Organization has indicated that about 60 percent of agricultural production is influenced by the chemical condition of the soil.[4]A high nutrient content improves soil fertility. The soil consists of macro and micro nutrients that are essential for plant growth. Plants require macronutrients in large quantities while they require micronutrients in small quantities. Soil pH is the alkalinity or acidity of the soil. This property affects the type of crops to be grown on a particular soil because different crops thrive well in different pH levels. Some plants thrive well in alkaline conditions while others grow well in acidic soils. Due to this variation, it is advisable to maintain a pH level that is optimum for the growth of a particular crop. Controlling of the pH level involves reducing acidity through the addition of lime to the soil or reducing alkalinity through the addition of acidic fertilizers. Soil salinity has negative impacts on the growth and developme...
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