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Do soil organisms compete for nutrients useful to crops?

Stephenson, R.E.
Agronomy journal 1934 v.26 no.6 pp. 513-517
animal manures, Medicago sativa, straw, degradation, soil microorganisms, soil fauna, ecological competition, crops, nutrients, soil amendments, glucose, starch, calcium, sodium nitrate, potassium sulfate, superphosphate, nutrient availability
1. Soil organisms utilize available mineral nutrients, but usually not to an extent to offer serious competition with crops. 2. Competition for mineral nutrients is much less easily demonstrated than is competition for available nitrogen. 3. The use of an organic, such as dextrose, which contains neither nitrogen nor minerals results in sufficient stimulation of biological activity to reduce somewhat the amount of water-soluble mineral nutrients found in the soil. 4. Decomposition of organics containing mineral nutrients and also fairly high in nitrogen, such as legume residues and stable manure, results in an increased supply of available minerals, particularly potassium, using water solubility as a measure of availability. 5. The beneficial effect of soil organisms in liberating plant food in the soil seems to overshadow possible harmful effects of competition.