Is it really necessary to use chemical fertilizers in agriculture?

Despite chemical fertilizers’ potential efficiency for agricultural purposes, their use is a dangerous contributor to water and soil pollution. These effects can be minimised by introducing organic fertilizers to the mix. 

The authors of this multidisciplinary research in Cogent Geoscience focus their research on the rice–wheat and rice–wheat–mung bean cropping system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India. They demonstrate, through microbiological and statistical analysis, how the mixed use of various organic fertilizers can reduce the dependence on chemical fertilizers, but still improve soil enzyme fertility. Using organic fertilizers stimulates and improves overall soil metabolic activity and fertility, without compromising its natural composition or causing unrepairable long term effects. 

Firstly, to check whether it affects the overall metabolic activity of soil fauna, soil respiration and soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC), ergosterol content, soil glomalin content and FDA hydrolysis activity were calculated.  As a result, it was observed that important soil enzyme activities like glucosidase, alkaline and acid phosphatase, which circulate carbon (C) and phosphorous (P), were increased with mixed use of organic fertilizers, and anincrease in soil microbial activity was also observed.  It was also observed that the overall enzyme activities of soil increased when organic fertilizers were used, suggesting improvement of soil fertility.

This study could impact on agricultural, ecological and soil ecosystem restoration perspectives with regard to the maintenance of soil fertility. It is suggested that inclusion of leguminous crop (wheat–mung bean–rice cropping system) is better than wheat–rice cropping system for maintaining soil productivity under the semi-arid Indo-Gangetic plains.

Read the article here: 

Effect of organics, biofertilizers and crop residue application on soil microbial activity in rice – wheat and rice-wheat mungbean cropping systems in the Indo-Gangetic plains
Geeta Singh et al. Cogent Geoscience, 2015, 1: 1085296 (2 Oct 2015)