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We can define the soil as the topmost layer of surface of the earth in which the crops grow.
The upper layer of the earth crust on which crops are dependent for support and nutrition is called soil.
Functions of soil
Here we will discuss about the functions of soil:-
1) Provision of support- Soil helps the crop to stand erect by providing support to the roots.
2) Supply of water- Roots take the water from soil which is utilized in photosynthetic activities.
3) Supply of Nutrients- All the important nutrients (13) are taken from the soil.
4) Function of soil organisms- Micro organisms in soil performs different functions like Nitrogen fixation, phosphate and sulphur solubilisation, decomposition of organic matter etc.
Characteristics of an ideal soil for crop production
We have read the functions of soil but it is essential to know the characteristics of an ideal soil. These characterstics are as follows:
1) The soil should be well aerated.
2) pH of soil should be 6 to 8.
3) Good water holding capacity.
4) Well drainage of excess water.
5) Good amount of organic matter.
6) Good amount of available nutrients.
7) Free from soil borne diseases and pests.
8) Deep, friable and well textured.
Formation of soil
Lets us see how the soils form— Soil is formed from the rocks by the process called weathering of rocks and by different pedogenic processes. The properties of a soil are dependent on the rock from which it is formed, climatic conditions, organisms and time. The study of soil profile gives us knowledge about its formation and quality.