When it comes to growing plants, few people worry about the quality of soil they use. However, when it comes to feeding a nation, this is a vital factor. While plants grow in a diverse range of settings, optimizing soil means providing nutrient-rich foods in surplus quantities. Creating new ways to farm that provide this difference in vale is still a fresh science. As such, few people realize why nitrogen matters in crop production nutrients.
What Part Does Nitrogen Play in Nutrients?
When it comes to essential elements, we’re all very familiar with the role that hydrogen and oxygen play. Together these elements constitute the key ingredients for life on Earth: water and breathable air. Few people are aware of how crucial nitrogen is to virtually every form of life. In short, without nitrogen life wouldn’t exist; it helps make DNA and protein compounds. While this element is common in the atmosphere, the usable compounds on the ground come from the life cycles of living organisms—plants, in particular.
How It Benefits Crops
Why nitrogen matters in crop production nutrients is a twofold question. First, as we’ve seen, nitrogen must be present in the plants that we or our livestock eat. Without it, animal life would begin to fall apart as nitrogen supports a lot of key functions on the cellular level. In plants, however, nitrogen is like rocket fuel. Having a good supply of nitrogen allows plants to photosynthesize efficiently. Crops can grow faster and healthier. As such, keeping nitrogen-rich fields is key to running a successful and efficient farming operation.
Ways Farmers Increase Nitrogen Content
As important as it is, it stands to reason that farmers have and continuously seek new ways to improve the presence of nitrogen in their soil and crops. One of the oldest ways to manage soil deterioration is an ancient method people used long before modern farming. Certain crops naturally return nitrogen into the soil during their life cycle. Rotating them helps recover the nutrients absorbed by growing other nitrogen-dependent plants.
Another very common method is to utilize bacteria colonies. Microorganisms feed off the decay left by plants at the end of the growing season. Through their own metabolic process, bacteria produces nitrogen as a byproduct of breaking down detritus. To better manage this process, farmer can introduce nitrogen specializing bacteria via inoculation of fields, crops, and compost.