Silent engines behind agriculture

9 January 2018 - 162   - 1

Year 2017 ended up with a huge loss of yield in rice cultivation when compared with the last few years. On one hand the reason was the heavy floods which occurred in agricultural areas. Another reason is the restrictions on the herbicides, pesticides and agricultural fertilizers that enhance the yield, as the farmers claim. So farmers are questioning on the big issue in using herbicides and other chemicals but majority of people don't know about the microorganisms who live in soil and within the plant playing  a silent,yet a critical role in the   development of plants and ultimately on the whole agricultural world.

During the past few decades people were inclined to use pesticides to prevent the damage from pests and herbicides to prevent the growth of weeds in paddy fields. Actually those strategies worked out well but due to the use of its high dosage  over the optimum level,  it created a highly polluted environment and negatively impacted the beneficial microorganisms for agriculture. It changed the composition and abundance of the beneficial microorganisms for agriculture while changing ecology of the soil. Things get worsened when people try to do farming without herbicides and pesticides. Since plant beneficial microflora  has been absent, growth of weeds have increased more than ever while  a lot of  diseases and nutrient symptoms can be seen in plants more frequently.

Someone one might not agree with that[1] [2]  because of the lack of experience on these tiny microbes. But  you should believe that chemically high energy consumptive product of nitrate,  which is a main compound in fertilizers is produced by these silent workers,free of charge. These little guys fulfill not only  nitrogen requirements of the plants but also other nutrients that are essential for the plant growth.

Some one can question about what they can do in pathogen resistance in upper part since they seem  to be limited to the soil. No, that's completely wrong. These microorganisms are living in not only in outside of the plant but also within the plant tissues. These microbes secrete chemical compounds that inhibit growth of pathogenic organisms which leads to diseases in plants. These microbes live mutualistically with the plant. Sometimes there will be stress conditions for plants. Specially for rice cultivation there will be floods, droughts, as well as changes in salinity in soil. These endophytic microorganisms protect plants from those stress conditions for zero cents.

Someone might  ask how  we could enhance this beneficial microflora. Actually it might take a little bit of time. Initially we can introduce beneficial microorganisms as biofertilizers to soil. Adding organic fertilizers, giving suitable conditions for the growth of the microbes might increase the colonization of these  valuable guys. These microorganisms have a significant role in the  protection and growth of the plant by maintaining optimum level of nutrients as well as converting nutrient sources into forms that can be absorbed by plant roots.

The government is focused on a sustainable economy. Sustainability comes through strategies which reap the full benefits of natural resources without destroying those. Empowering and managing these microorganisms is a good strategy for that.So let the silent engines be the noisy ones. 

Name of the writer: Lahiru Welikanna

E-mail address: lahirunranga@gmail.com

  Comments - 1

  • samalka Tuesday, 9 January 2018 08:16 PM

    All the best ... come up with more writings .. :-)

    Reply : 0       2

    Leave a comment

Top Stories

Sri Lankan security forces made great sacrifices in the march to peace: Minister

Sri Lanka achieved peace due to the great sacrifices made by the war heroes in the armed forces, going to the extent of sacrificing their own li...

19 May 2018 - Views : 63

BIA immigration officers call off strike

18 May 2018

Rosy orders to suspend fines charged from parking meters

18 May 2018

Sri Lankan immigrant family supporters appeal to Australian Home Affairs Minister Dutton

18 May 2018



Features & Analysis

In pictures : Asymmetry

The cast of Silent Hands recently presented Ric Robinson’s Asymmetry, a story of human relationships that ...

'Superman' star Margot Kidder dead at 69

Margot Kidder, best known for her role as Lois Lane in the "Superman" films of the 1970s and 80s, has di...

In Pictures: 'Fun Home'

Captured here are images from the musical ‘Fun Home’ written by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron was pre...

“Chaos by SMS” this weekend

“Chaos by SMS” is back by popular demand. First staged in November last year, the play was an instant hit...