“Soil fertility is the genetic character of soil”
Soil fertility is the status or the inherent capacity of the soil to supply nutrients to plants in adequate amounts and in suitable proportions. It depends upon physical, chemical and biological factors of soil. Soil fertility is infact the translation of elemental composition of parent material. Parent material has influence in soil genesis and soil fertility, and this can be well demonstrated from soils developed. The parent material of a soil determines the original supply of those nutrient elements that are released by weathering and influences the balance between nutrient loss and retention.
Organic acids and exudates produced by microorganisms and plants enhance the weathering of minerals and the release of nutrients. Nutrients may be stored in organic cycles or as ions adsorbed to clay and organic matter. Nutrients are lost mainly by leaching, both as dissolved ions and when associated with soluble organic components. Soil formation evidently affects these processes and modifies the environment at different depths as soil horizons develop.
In general, it is believed that the parent material determine the soil properties such as texture, structure, water holding capacity and clay content. It may affect the downward movement of water which is important for profile development. Parent material has a great role on soil fertility, for example,
1. Red soils developed from crystalline granite has poor in organic carbon, N, P and respond well to K-management.
2. Black soil developed from Deccan Basalt are inherently fertile but problem in work-ability and development of subsoil sodicity.
3. Alluvial soil derived from alluvial deposits are rich in plant nutrients but deficient in organic C and N.
4. Laterite soil formed by laterisation process (alkali hydrolysis) are deficient in almost all nutrients but can be managed well and so on. Any soil inherits its genetic properties from parent material only, enacted by other factors like climate, organisms, relief and time.
The fertility of soil of a certain region depends on the type of nutrient elements that found of that soil and the type of nutrient elements depends on the rocks and minerals which found of that region.
Above all discussion we can say that, “Soil fertility is the genetic character of soil”.