Soil: Fertility and Nutrient Management

Authored by: John L. Havlin

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-ENRL-120047493

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Abstract

Future population growth will drive increased food and fiber production per unit of land. Increasing crop productivity increases soil nutrient removal and the importance of replenishing soil fertility through effective and efficient nutrient management. Native soil nutrient supply depends on the soils’ ability to buffer nutrient loss through crop removal. Mineralization of soil organic fractions provides limited supplies of N, S, and micronutrients, while mineral dissolution and surface exchange reactions resupply P, K, Ca, Mg, and micronutrients. Nutrient mobility in soil influences ion transport to plant roots, evaluation of nutrient availability to plants, and ultimately nutrient management decisions. Effective nutrient management requires quantifying crop nutrient requirement and the nutrient supplying capacity of the soil through soil testing. Once these are determined, the nutrient management plan includes determination of the optimum nutrient rate, appropriate nutrient source(s), most effective nutrient placement method(s), and nutrient application timing. Management decisions will vary depending on the specific nutrient. Effective management of soil nutrients will ensure crop productivity meets consumption demand, while minimizing impacts of nutrient use on the environment.

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