Friday, 6 February 2015

Green Manure for soil fertility management and its benefits

Green manuring is a practice of ploughing or turning into soil undecomposed
green plant material for the purpose of improving physical structure as well as
the fertility of the soil. It increases the availability of plant nutrients that
contribute to the yield of the crop.
The microbial activities are enhanced as the fresh organic material acts as the nutrient source for the diverse soil flora and fauna. The structure of heavy, light and sandy soil is considerably improved
and unproductive lands can be converted into fertile ones by green manuring. In hilly areas, green manuring prevents soil erosion on sloppy lands by providing very good soil cover.
Green manure crops are quick growing legumes and grasses that are ploughed into the field, mulched on the top of soil and used as composting material. Amongst the green manure crops sunhemp and daincha are outstanding in biomass production. It is essential that there should be sufficient moisture in the soil when the green manure crops are ploughed into the soil to facilitate the microbial activity.
Benefits of Green Manuring :
  1. Green manures, in the case of legumes, fix nitrogen and contribute to farm nitrogen needs.
  2. It  protect and enhance the soil’s biological activity by providing nutrition for the soil organism.
  3. It aerates the soil, consequently improving the soil structure.
  4. Green manure crops cover the soil in between successive grain crops, thus protecting the soil against wind and water erosion.
  5. Green manure crops reduce soil compaction.
  6. Green manure crops provide a habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects.