Try planting seeds in pure clay retrieved from the bottom of a metre deep hole. There is no plant growth here, no matter how much N-P-K is applied. It is not possible to grow a crop in soil in the complete absence of organic carbon (humus).
In the production of a fertile soil, organic substances play a direct part as they are the sources of plant nutrients which are liberated in available forms during mineralisation.
The rise in popularity and use of mineral fertilisers enabled growers to directly supply plant nutrients to the soil, and rapid growth in agricultural productivity occurred. As a consequence, the importance of soil organic matter was somewhat neglected.
Humus is a structureless colloidal material resulting from the decomposition (humification) of any type of dead organic matter (mostly plant residues and animal remains).
It is a complex mixture including proteins, lignin (plant cell walls); fats, carbohydrates, and organic acids. These acids, humic acids and chelates, provide a storehouse of essential plant nutrients.
It helps make some nutrients more soluble and available to plants. It provides a high water absorption and holding capacity and contributes to good soil structure. It buffers the soil and protects plants from drastic changes in pH.
Humus and soil life work together for plants benefits.
Organic carbon is created from the breakdown of organic matter (usually in the form of crop residues) by bacteria and fungi. The conversion and availability of all mineral elements are related to, and regulated by this system of decay in the soil.
This is the environment necessary for the decomposing micro-organisms to flourish. Crop residues are converted into carbon dioxide, carbonic acid and numerous mild organic acids. These acids, stored in the humus complex, are necessary to convert, chelate, and release soil minerals.
Everyone knows that plant needs light, heat and moisture, as well as good fertile soil with the whole set of macro and micro elements to flourish.
But the real problem is that assimilation of those elements is impossible without some special organic substance, which is called "humus".
The main compound of humus are humic acids; which have originated during the decomposition of plant and animal residues by microorganisms, under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, usually in soils, composts, peat bogs, and water basins.
The importance of organic matter in soil is not a recent discovery. Soil fertility in early agricultural systems was based on the recycling of organic wastes. The addition of decomposed organic materials improved plant growth.
Besides being a source of nutrients for the plant, organic matter has a fundamental effect on the physical properties of the soil (water-holding capacity) and determines to a large degree such properties as the exchange capacity and buffering properties. These properties are of great importance, not only in controlling the uptake of nutrients by the plant and their retention in the soil, but also in suppressing the deleterious effect of soil acidity.
Cultivation of soils usually causes a decrease in the organic matter content. For most soils, a high level of organic matter is maintained only by grass species. Conventional sources of applied organic matter such as farm manures or crop residues are not normally used due to lack of availability or prohibitive cost.
Humate products for agricultural use are produced through mineral sand mining. The end product contains a majority of organic material (concentrated humic acid ) mixed with smaller amounts of mineral matter.
Humate concentrates provide many of the advantages of conventional organic matter sources with less handling problems, especially in situations where there is no feasible alternative to purchasing additional supplies of humus.
They have been demonstrated to have favourable effects on tissue nutrient balance, fertiliser uptake, top and root growth, crop yield and quality for a large variety of field and horticultural plants.
Here we get help of new and high tech products . If we defined humus as the base of fertility, we can define these high tech products as a concentrate of vital strength of humus, produced by nature during evolution.
The importance of organic matter in soil cannot be over emphasized. Soil life depends in large part on organic matter.
The bacterial, earthworms, fungi, actinomycetes and nematodes all in some way depend on organic matter.