Soil Testing A Panacea to Crop Yield and Agricultural Sustainability – A Case for Farmers of South Eastern, Nigeria
Increasing human population is closely related with the increasing demand of food and pressure on available land with the rising demand on fertilizer that has not been sustainable at the farmer’s level. This causes soil fertility decline, nutrient imbalance and low residual effect which are constraint affecting agricultural production in south eastern soils of Nigeria in particular and to large extent in tropical environment. Land available to be used for intensive crop production activities is limited and this demand for adequate soil testing that will x-ray the fertility status of the soil before crop planting. The characteristics and amount of nutrient elements of a soil and soil biodiversity is influenced by climatic conditions, erosion/leaching, drought, cultivation history/land use system, cropping history, kinds of pesticides/herbicides applied, type and methods of inorganic and organic fertilizer applied. Soil testing quantifies the total value of plant nutrient elements available in a sampled soil that will directly promote crop growth and yield. Due to its biophysical, biochemical, biological and physiochemical results, soil testing when appropriately interpreted and applied may be used effectively to promote sustainable crop production and environmental health in a tropical soil like south eastern, Nigeria.
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