Nutrient Management: Role of Organic Matter In Soil Fertility |
Soil organic matter – the product of on-site biological decomposition –affects the chemical and physical properties of the soil and its overallhealth. Its composition and breakdown rate affect: the soil structure andporosity; the water infiltration rate and moisture holding capacity of soils;the diversity and biological activity of soil organisms; and plant nutrientavailability. Many common agricultural practices, especially ploughing,disc-tillage and vegetation burning, accelerate the decomposition of soilorganic matter and leave the soil susceptible to wind and water erosion.However, there are alternative management practices that enhance soil healthand allow sustained agricultural productivity. Conservation agricultureencompasses a range of such good practices through combining no tillage orminimum tillage with a protective crop cover and crop rotations.