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Humic Acid’s Role in Improving Soil Quality and Plant Growth

Humic acid is a natural bio-stimulant that is derived from leonardite and is among the most concentrated organic material available today. Elemental analysis of humic acid has shown it to consist largely of carbon and oxygen (about 50% and 40% respectively). Humic acid also contains hydrogen (about 5%), nitrogen (about 3%), phosphorous and sulfur (both less than 1%). Humic acid is a complex of closely related macromolecules. These molecules range in size from less than 1000 to more than 100,000 daltons, with the lower mass representing the younger material.

humic-acids-role-in-improving-soil-quality-and-plant-growthHumus compounds are complex natural organic compounds that are formed in soils from plant residues, by a process of “humification”. Humus materials are complex aggregate of brown to dark colored amorphous substances, which have originated during the decomposition of plant and animal residues by microorganisms, under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, in soils, composts, peat bogs, and water basins. Chemically, humus consists of certain constituents of the original plant material resistant to further decomposition; of substances undergoing decomposition; of complexes resulting from decomposition, either by processes of hydrolysis or by oxidation and reduction; and of various compounds synthesized by microorganisms.

Humic acid’s role in improving soil quality

Most people are quick to say Humic Acids are fertilizers, but in fact, it is more of a natural soil conditioner. The benefits far outweigh the costs and with so many soils being depleted around the world today, Humic Acids are an effective product to reverse the depletion trend. In a world where we are seeing world population grow at an exponential rate, and are losing arable acres on which to grow crops, we need to fertilize crops to maximize production and feed the hungry.

By supplying the soil with sufficient humic acid, we help to bind cations (positively charged elements). The ability to chelate positively charged multivalent ions (Mg, Ca, Fe and other ”trace minerals” of value to plants) is probably the most important role of humic acid, with respect to your soil. By chelating the ions, humic acid facilitates the uptake of the ions by means of several mechanisms, one of which is preventing their precipitation (leaching through the soil). Another is the direct and positive influence on their bio-availability. It can also detoxify the soil of heavy metals. Research has shown that heavy metals can be ”locked up” with the addition of humic acid.

Humic acid’s role in improving Plants growth

One way plant growth is improved is through the structural improvement of both clay and sandy soil allowing for better root growth development. Plant growth is also improved by the ability of the plant to uptake and receive more nutrients. Humic acid is especially beneficial in freeing up nutrients in the soil so that they are made available to the plant as needed. For instance if an aluminum molecule is binded with a phosphorus one, humic acid detaches them making the phosphorus available for the plant. Humic acid is also especially important because of its ability to chelate micronutrients increasing their bio-availability.

The activities of beneficial soil microbes are crucial for the sustainability of any plant growth. Humic acid stimulates microbial activity by providing the indigenous microbes with a carbon source for food, thus encouraging plant’s growth and activity. Soil microbes are responsible for solubilizing vital nutrients such as phosphorus that can then be absorbed by the humic acid and in turn made available to the plant for better growth and root development. Additionally, microbes are responsible for the continued development of humus in the soil as it continues to break down not fully decomposed organic matter. This in-situ production of humus continues to naturally add to the humic acid base and its benefits.

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Sustainable Agriculture in India

Since the beginning of civilizations agriculture farming is one sector that impacts and in turn, is impacted the most by the environment. Hence sustainability of the human race in India and this world depends a lot on the environmental friendliness of our agriculture.

India is facing a food crisis thanks to the systematic uninterrupted destruction of agriculture land and food production systems over the last five decades through uncontrolled use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, mono-cropping, and other intensive agricultural practices. Instead of looking at the real problem the Indian government is favoring false solutions like genetically engineered (GE) food crops.

The Indian government’s policies have always emphasized food grain self-sufficiency, which has not necessarily coincided with agricultural sustainability. The growth of agricultural production and productivity, which had risen significantly during the 1970s and 1980s, declined during the 1990s. These slowdowns have worsened since 2000; both overall agricultural production and food grains production have shown negative growth rates in 2000-01 to 2002-03 periods (GoI, 2002). The decline in the growth rates of agricultural production and productivity is a serious issue considering the questions of food security, livelihood, and environment. As such, a critical examination of the approaches for sustainable agricultural development is necessary. This examination must be framed not only by India’s ongoing need to ensure food self-sufficiency but also by the consequences of access to international markets.