Integrated Nutrient Management (INM)

Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) refers to the maintenance of soil fertility and of plant nutrient supply at an optimum level for sustaining the desired productivity through optimization of the benefits from all possible input sources in an integrated manner.

INM enables the adaptation of the plant nutrition and soil fertility management in farming systems to site characteristics, taking advantage of the combined and harmonious use of organic, mineral and biofertilizer nutrient resources to serve the concurrent needs of the economic, environmental and social viability of cannabis production. (Bulletin 16, 2006)

Most traditional farming methods take into account strictly what nutrient plants need and at what rates. INM takes into account multiple parameters of the ecological framework. Certain determinants of an INM program are:

•Nutrient requirement of cropping system as a whole.
•Soil fertility status and special management needs to overcome soil problems, if any
•Local availability of nutrients resources (organic, inorganic and biological sources)
•Economic conditions of farmers and profitability of proposed INM option.
•Social acceptability.
•Ecological considerations.
•Impact on the environment

Soil Fertility

The term soil fertility is used mainly in agriculture and is considered the ability of a soil to bear fruit, i.e., to serve the plants as a location and to produce sustainable high quality plant yields. The soil fertility is measured on the yield. On natural soils the measure for this yield is supplemented by the annual growth of organic matter of the vegetation, indicating the diversity of its vegetation. The measure for the yield on agricultural soils is the respective harvest yield. Basically, a fertile soil can provide the plants that are rooted in it with nutrients, water and air. Its specific fertility depends on various factors. These factors are covered below.

nutrients

Each nutrient used by cannabis has an important role to play in the growth process. Some nutrients, like nitrogen, are more important for vegetative growth. Other nutrients, like phosphorus, are more important for flowering. Additional micro-nutrients, like sulfur and magnesium, play crucial roles in boosting plants resin levels.  To learn more about individual nutrients, click on the icon to learn about each individual nutrient and its part in plant nutrition and health.

 

Additives

Additives is a term used to describe the sugars, vitamins, hormones, fungi, bacteria, and any other substances used to improve plant growth.  Carefully following the additive instructions is important to determine the correct dosage and timetable for application.  Additives are available in many forms, such as liquids, crystals, granules, powders and others.  Most additives manufacturers have a website that provide additional information about their product.  It is up to the horticulturist to ensure using multiple additives do not carry any contraindications.  The CHA will periodically provide blog articles covering these topics and more in depth assays for our members.

 

Biofertilizers are defined as preparations containing living cells or latent cells of efficient strains of microorganisms that help crop plants’ uptake of nutrients by their interactions in the rhizosphere when applied through seed or soil.  They accelerate certain microbial processes in the soil which augment the extent of availability of nutrients in a form easily assimilated by plants.

 

 

Amendment includes all inorganic and organic substances mixed into the soil for achieving a better soil constitution regarding plant productivity. There are different substances for different soils and plants to optimize the soil conditions. A very common amendment is the addition of organic matter like compost, due to its low production costs.

 

Soil chemistry is the study of the chemical characteristics of soil. Soil chemistry is affected by mineral composition, organic matter and environmental factors. Soil - (i) The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants. (ii) The unconsolidated mineral or organic matter on the surface of the Earth that has been subjected to and shows effects of genetic and environmental factors of: climate (including water and temperature effects), and macro- and micro organisms, conditioned by relief, acting on parent material over a period of time. A product-soil differs from the material from which it is derived in many physical, chemical,biological, and morphological properties and characteristics. This definition is from Soil Taxonomy, second edition.

 

Soil Biology

Soil biology is the study of microbial and faunal activity and ecology in soil. It is a collective term that encompasses all the organisms that spend a significant portion of their life cycle within a soil profile, or at the soil-litter interface. Soil biology is collectively known as the soil food web. The soil food web consists of all the living organisms in the soil that create complex interactions with each other, the plants root systems and the environment. There is still much to learn about what occurs below the surface and the CHA will be constantly updating this information as new material arrives.

 

Soil Classification

Soil classification is a dynamic subject, from the structure of the system itself, to the definitions of classes, and finally in the application in the field. Soil classification can be approached from the perspective of soil as a material and soil as a resource.

 

 

 

Cover crops

Cover crops are plants used to improve conditions in and around the soil. They increase organic matter content thereby enhancing water availability and beneficial soil biology, which typically leads to increased yields. They control pests and diseases, smother weeds and generally increase biodiversity

 

Technically, compost tea is where beneficial microorganisms are extracted from compost, humus or vermicompost (worm compost).  When provided with the right food source, their populations can effectively multiply into the billions.  High quality compost tea will have all of these organisms working synergistically in the soil to optimize conditions that facilitate nutrient uptake and plant health.  Many nutrients used in compost tea recipes function as a fertilizer for the plants as well.

 

 

further Concepts

•Regulated nutrient supply for optimum crop growth and higher productivity.
•Improvement and maintenance of soil fertility.
•Zero adverse impact on agro-ecosystem quality by balanced fertilization of organic/inorganic fertilizers and bio- inoculants

 

Selected References

FAO Integrated plant nutrition system. FAO Fertiliser and Plant Nutrition. Bulletin 16. 2006

ClimateTechWiki - Integrated Nutrient Management

NC University - Extension Gardener Handbook

Entrepreurial Training Manual. The Professor and Head. Department of Microbiology Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore-3.