Organic Matter in Soil

Constant addition of some organic matter and beneficial microbes to soil makes it healthy soil and gives us sustainable production. We as the technologists should wisely use beneficial organisms and organic matter together in such a way that they are available in abundant number to plants when they are needed. We should identify biological activities of soil for defining its biofertilizer, disease prevention capabilities of healthy soil.

We have learnt in school that because of frictional forces such as wind and water flow (wear and tear of rocks) created soil over millions of years. But is this the healthy soil – capable of giving us good growth of our crops? No!

The healthy soil for agriculture means this inorganic powder of rocks plus organic matter and beneficial organisms. The beneficial microbes add biofertilizer and disease prevention activities to soil. The organic matter and beneficial organisms are responsible for making the disease suppressive soils.

The beneficial organisms feed on organic matter in the soil. There are thousands of types of beneficial organisms in soil and they provide biofertilizer and disease prevention properties to healthy soil. In order to do this they must grow – thousands of types of beneficial organisms in millions of number are needed for this purpose. We must keep these beneficial organisms well fed to satisfy our needs. Therefore we must keep our soil rich in organic matter. Soils having 2 – 5% organic matter are considered healthy and fertile soils. But most of the soils have less than 0.5% organic matter left. Suppose we want to increase organic matter of one acre soil from 0.5% to 1.5%; this increase in organic matter by 1% will require in excess of 30 Mt of organic manure. Achieving this in a single go is not feasible, affordable and advisable. Therefore constant addition of some organic matter and beneficial microbes to soil makes it healthy soil and gives us sustainable production.

Beneficial organisms and their biofertilizer activity are at the cost of using organic matter from soil. These beneficial organisms can multiply very rapidly – say in double in 20 minutes. To grow at this rate for 24 hours even a single cell of beneficial organism will need lots of organic matter. In fact more than 400 times of the total organic matter available on this earth! This is the capacity of beneficial organisms. We can not harvest it, simple because the earth does not hold enough organic matter to satisfy the need of even a single cell of beneficial organism even for a day. Therefore we as the technologists should wisely use beneficial organisms and organic matter together in such a way that they are available in abundant number to plants when they are needed. The balanced use of organic matter and beneficial organisms develops biofertilizer activity, disease prevention activity and makes healthy soil.

The biofertilizer is identified by farmers by the names of specific beneficial organisms. But biofertilizer is an activity resultant of action of beneficial organisms on organic matter and inorganic powder of rocks. This activity also develops disease prevention property of healthy soils. We should identify biological activities of soil for defining its biofertilizer, disease prevention capabilities of healthy soil.

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