This book offers effective methods of regulating soil pH for sustainable crop production by decreasing soil contaminants, balancing soil pH, improving nutrient uptake, and increasing crop yields. The book discusses methods of measuring soil pH, factors influencing soil pH, the influence of soil pH on nutrient availability and microbial activity, the causes and amendments of soil acidity, the effects of fertilizers on soil acidity, and soil pH preferences of various crops. This book will serve as a guide for understanding the roles of pH in soil and crop productivities. This is an important resource for soil, crop, and environmental scientists, agronomists, crop physiologists, botanists, foresters, wildlife scientists, and students in these disciplines.Go to the book
The challenge of agricultural land depletion as a result of the pressure driven by the ever-growing population has brought about a renewed focus on the need for sustainable practices in agricultural production. Biochar is the solid carbonaceous product obtained when plant and/or animal biomass is subjected to pyrolysis. This chapter reviews the properties of biochar and its impacts when incorporated into the soil. Relative to its original organic form, this chapter iterates the benefits of biochar as a more sustainable organic approach towards improving agricultural soil qualities and hence crop yield due to its stability and duration in soils for hundreds of years. The impacts of biochar on soil physical, chemical and biological properties through the enhancement of soil nutrient and water-holding capacity, pH, bulk density and stimulation of soil microbial activities are by improving aggregation, porosity, surface area and habitat for soil microbes in biochar-amended soils. It is therefore recommended that biochar be used as soil amendment, especially to a degraded soil for a large and long-term carbon sink restoration.
Part of the book: Organic Farming
Agronomy is a branch of agriculture that deals with soil and crop. Soil varies in space and is responsible for variation in the growth and yield of crops on the field. This variation in the yields of crops planted and monitored on the same parcel of land under the same environmental conditions has been a great concern to farmers. Spatial variations of soil nutrients status, as caused by topography, soil texture and management practices, have been observed across the fields. Hence, the need to separate the field into site specific management units using geographical information systems (GIS) for effective soil and crop management in order to obtain optimum productivity. Over the years, field sizes, farming direction, locations of fences, rotations and fertility programmes have changed the nutritional status of the farms. Consequently, the productivity of the soil has equally been affected. In spite of these factors, conventional agriculture treats an entire field uniformly with respect to the application of fertiliser, pesticides, soil amendments and other chemical application. The use of GIS will help farmers to overcome over- or under-applications of fertiliser and other agrochemical applications. The potential of GIS application in agronomy is obviously large. However, the GIS user community in the field of agronomy is rather small compared to other business sectors. To advance the use of GIS in agronomic studies, this Chapter in book tends to explore the applications of GIS to some fields in agronomy.
Part of the book: Geospatial Technology
Vetiver grass is a densely tufted bunch grass which can be easily established in both tropics and temperate regions of the world. It plays a vital role in watershed protection by slowing down and spreading runoff harmlessly on the farmland, recharging ground water, reducing siltation of drainage systems and water bodies, reducing agro-chemicals loading into water bodies and for rehabilitation of degraded soils. Vetiver grass could tolerate extremely high levels of heavy metals. It could be used as biological pest control. The use of vetiver grass has been regarded as a low-cost technology for soil and water conservation; on- and off-farm land and water sources stabilization and remediation of polluted soils; and enhancement of water quality for irrigation purposes when compared with other soil conservation technologies. It could be a dynamic tool for mitigating environmental and agricultural problems, thereby enhancing crop yield and supporting all-year round agricultural cultivation. Recently, vetiver grass has been used to raise animals of different kinds. Thus, this chapter in the book explores several applications of vetiver grass, its impacts and resultant benefits as a technology that could enhance sustainable agricultural development.
Part of the book: Grasses
Cassava is the most important food crop in Africa occupying about 6 million hectares (ha). Several factors have limited the continuous and sustainable production of cassava in tropical Africa. Some of these factors include (but not necessarily limited to) soil and water, which are the two basic fundamental resources for cassava production. The demand on soil and water resources is increasing, especially for new and conflicting soil functions like enhancing crop production, improving water quality and mitigating climate change. Soil–plant-water relations relate to the physical properties of soil and plants that affect the movement, retention and use of water. This chapter reviewed the soil, water and plant relationship for cassava production in tropical Nigeria. The study observed that understanding the effects of soil quality and water characteristics on cassava production and its management as well as the relationship between soil, water and crop for sustainable optimum cassava production is highly imperative now than ever before, especially in developing countries of Africa (like Nigeria) that are characterised by high risks of soil degradation, rising populations and pressure on agricultural lands juxtaposed with predominant resource—poor and small landholders.
Part of the book: Cassava
Part of the book: Soil pH for Nutrient Availability and Crop Performance