Research claims that 60% of farm yields depend on water quality and soil fertility. Water and soil are precious resources that farmers should manage carefully. Farmers can do this by performing regular water and soil tests. Here are five reasons why water and soil testing is so important.
Understand How to Improve Water and Soil Condition
Quality water and fertile soil are necessary for high yields. Regular water and soil tests can help improve the fertility of a farm. Biological, physical, and chemical properties are the critical determinants of soil fertility. Some of the visible soil properties include soil structure, color, and texture. However, the chemical composition of the soil isn’t visible. It can only be determined through sampling, where tests are taken and used to determine soil’s pH level and nutrient content. These tests can also help determine the quantity and type of fertilizer and water needed to improve soil fertility.
The conductivity and alkalinity of water can remain stable for an extended period. However, parameters such as water pH and DO can fluctuate from season to season. Factors such as Secchi and load depths tend to fluctuate with events such as a storm. Regular water tests can help maintain an ecologically balanced approach to farm management.
Proper Farm Management
Proper soil and water management strategy can help farmers maximize nutrients efficiency and improve their farm productivity. The first step towards proper farm management is regular water and soil tests. Soil and water tests give invaluable information that can help improve your farm’s health and productivity.
Assessing water nutrient levels can help determine the effectiveness of water treatment. The two nutrients that determine the quality of water are phosphorus and nitrogen. Human activities, including waste disposal and applying fertilizer, can impact rivers, lakes, and ponds and result in a nutrient decline. Assessing water quality can help determine how healthy a lake or pond is and anticipate potential issues that may arise due to water contamination.
Avoid Resource Wastage
Knowing the exact quantity and type of fertilizer and water needed for crops can help avoid unnecessary fertilization and irrigation. Inorganic fertilizers contain limited resources such as potassium and phosphorus. Inorganic fertilizers’ price is on the rise, and the trend might last, so it is time farmers adapt to these inevitable changes. The more information a farmer can gather about the quality of water in a pond or lake, the better they can budget and plan for the future. Water sampling and testing can provide farmers with an opportunity to develop a plan to balance the aquatic ecosystem.
Over-fertilization can occur when a farmer applies more fertilizer than required. However, soil and water tests can help farmers avoid over-fertilization by ensuring no excess fertilizer is applied to a water pond or land. Optimal fertilization can increase crop yield and prevent environmental pollution. Over-fertilization of a farm can result in fertilizer burn and yellowing of leaves. Applying an excessive amount of fertilizer can also cause irreversible damages to aquatic life and leach nutrients.
Avoid Health Issues
The presence of contaminants in the soil and water can cause severe health issues, including neurological disorders and reproductive problems. Soil and water contamination exposes people with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women and infants, to a high risk for illness. However, regular water and soil sampling and testing can help identify hazardous contaminants and suggest the best course of action for an over-fertilized land or contaminated pond or lake. Soil and water sampling may suggest the need for installing an aeration system or a treatment plant. The amount of oxygen in the soil and water help determine the species that can survive on a farm.