Integration of Essential Components for Optimum Crop Yields
Agriculture, in a broad sense, is not an enterprise which leaves everything to nature without intervention. Rather it is a human activity in which the farmer attempts to integrate certain agroecological factors and production agricultural inputs for optimum crop yields. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that farmers should be interested in ways and means of controlling beneficial soil microorganisms as an important component of the agricultural environment. Nevertheless, this idea has often been rejected by naturalists and proponents of nature fanning and organic agriculture. They argue that beneficial soil microorganisms will increase naturally when biological soil amendments are applied to soils as carbon, energy and nutrient sources. This indeed may be true where an abundance of organic materials are readily available for recycling which often occurs in small-scale farming.
Most would agree that a basic rule of agriculture is to ensure that specific crops are grown according to their agroclunatic and agroecological requirements. However, in many cases the agricultural economy is based on market forces that demand a stable supply of food, and thus, it becomes necessary to use farmland to its full productive potential throughout the year.
The purpose of crop breeding is to improve crop production, crop protection, and crop quality. Improved crop cultivars along with improved cultural and management practices have made it possible to grow a wide variety of agricultural and horticultural crops in areas where it once would not have been culturally or economically feasible. The cultivation of these crops in such diverse environments has contributed significantly to a stable food supply in many countries. However it is somewhat ironic that new crop cultures are almost never selected with consideration of their nutritional quality or bioavailability after ingestion (Hornick, 1992).
To enhance the concept of controlling and utilizing beneficial microorganisms for increased crop production and protection, one must harmoniously integrate the essential components for plant growth and yield including light (intensity. photoperiod, and quality), carbon dioxide, water, nutrients (organic-inorganic), soil type, and the soil microflora. Because of these vital interrelationships, it is possible to envision a new technology and a more energy-efficient system of biological production.