Successful farming does not merely depend upon the knowledge of physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. it concerns both soil and soil management. The most important consideration is the correct application of the relationship between the soil and the crops to be grown. Although the problems of soil management vary according to the soils and their situations, the climatic conditions and the crops to be grown, there are fundamental factors that govern the choice of soil management practices.
Good soil tilth is the first feature of good soil management. It means a suitable physical condition of the soil and implies, in addition, a satisfactory regulation of soil moisture and air. The maintennace of soil organic matter which encourages granulation is an important consideration of good tilth. Tillage operations and timings should be so adjusted as to cause the minimum destruction of soil aggregates. Good tilth minimizes erosion hazards.
The choice and sequence of adaptable crops or crop rotation are very important. These are related to climate, rainfall, its distribution, and the characteristics of the soil profile, like drainage and soil moisture. A proper sequence of crops and varieties greatly influences the soil physically, chemically and biologically. It is better to evolve cropping patterns according to land capacity clssification, but wheresuch information is not available, the recommendations of the local agricultural agencies may be followed. The cropping patterns and management principles should be based on the principles of soil and water conservation and efficient moisture utilization. In irrigated areas special management principles are important to avoid salinity, alkalinity and water-logging. The capacity of the soil should be improved and maintained byadequate organic manures and plant nutrients through fertilizers and inclding legumes in the rotation. Similiarly, the provision of irrigation facility in the semi-arid and arid areas, different remedial measures against excessive salinity and alkalinity , or acidity in humid areas , specific soil amendments to correct plant-nutrient imbalances and the application of trace elements are some of the measures needed in different and special circumstances.
Economic plant-protection measures should form part of the management practices in the croppping system. This is achieved by changing the cultural practices and using fugicides, insecticides etc.
The economics of selected management practices is of vital importance. Unless economically profitable the recommended practices are not likely to be adopted. Hence, a package of practices for the integrated land use plan, including all the above points and yet economically profitable is necessary. This is now available for different areas in the country through the All-India co=ordinated schemes, operational research projects and other schemes at centre snd state level.
Before suggesting changes in soil management for a holding or a group of holdings, all the available information on different items mentioned above should be collected from field surveys, farms of research stations, farmers and extension workers and analysed to arrive at a rational package of practices for evolving suitable cropping systems, such a package of practices should be developed to cater for the needs of all kinds of farmers-large, small and marginal.