Soil Temperature For Better Yield
Soil Temperature is one of four main functions controlling plant growth in addition to water, nutrients and light in commencement of growth, rate of growth, and cessation of growth. It also greatly influences aeration and soil moisture content.
Soil temperature, light, and moisture all work together trigger seed germination. When the soil is cold, the seed may not germinate in the ground. If it does, it may be weak and lack the strength and vigor needed to develop properly and may be at greater risk of succumbing to pests and disease.
Soil temperature controls the development of plumose and the radicle when plant grows. It influences photosynthesis and respiration of the plant and also the growth of roots and absorption of nutrients by them.
High temperature in soils is also not good. If sun heats the soil surface with high temperatures it’s uncomfortable for most plants.
Soil temperature is one of the most important environmental factors known to affect the growth of microorganisms and the biological activity of soils which is critical to decomposing organic residues and recycling soil nutrients.
There are many factors that affect soil temperature :
Soil type : Sandy and loam based soils generally heat up much more quickly than the heaver clay soils
Weather and season : In a warm climate or in summer, the soil has maximum chemical and physical activities than in cold environment
Slope of the land : Direction the soil faces affects the temperature of soil
Plant cover: Insulate from fast heating or cooling of the soil
Soil Organic Matter : high soil organic matter buffers temperature extremes and initiates microbial activity and can deliver warmer conditions when soil temperature drops
Soil water : Wet soil will be cooler as it takes away lot of energy to heat water. Wet soils take longer to heat up in summer that are well drained
Microbial activity : also can generate heat. Therefore, high soil microbial activity ensures warmer soil during cold temperatures
Most often Soil Temperature is not measured and given required attention though it plays one of the most important role in microbial function in the soil, which in turn drives plant growth.
With optimum microbial activity, farmers can improve soil physical conditions, which in turn influences the of plant growth leading to better water movement, air movement, and nutrient movement.
If soil temperature is regularly measured and controlled, farmers can have better quality & quantity of yield.