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# Available moisture for a crop is equal to its

1. field capacity
2. saturation capacity
3. moisture content at wilting point
4. difference between field capacity and permanent wilting point within the root of plants
##### Solution
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Correct option is D. difference between field capacity and permanent wilting point within the root of plants

Available moisture for a crop refers to the amount of water in the soil that can be accessed by plants’ roots for growth and development. This quantity is determined by the difference between the field capacity and the permanent wilting point within the root zone of plants.

## Field Capacity

Field capacity is defined as the amount of water held in the soil after excess water has drained away, and the rate of downward movement has decreased. This usually occurs within 2-3 days after a rainfall event or irrigation.

At field capacity, the soil is holding the maximum amount of water available to plants without waterlogging or causing anaerobic conditions. The water is held in the soil pores by capillary forces, and it is accessible by plant roots.

## Permanent Wilting Point

Permanent wilting point is the soil moisture content at which plants can no longer extract water from the soil, leading to wilting and eventually death if the water supply is not replenished. At the permanent wilting point, the remaining water in the soil is held so tightly by the soil particles that plant roots cannot extract it. This water is considered unavailable for plant uptake.

## Calculating Available Moisture for Crops

To determine the available moisture for a crop, the difference between the field capacity and the permanent wilting point within the root zone of plants must be calculated. This can be represented by the following equation:

`Available moisture = Field capacity - Permanent wilting point`

The available moisture in the soil varies depending on factors such as soil type, texture, and structure. For example, sandy soils generally have a lower available moisture content compared to loamy or clayey soils due to their larger pore spaces and lower water-holding capacity.

## Importance of Available Moisture for Crop Growth

Available moisture plays a critical role in plant growth and development. Understanding the available moisture content in the soil is essential for several reasons:

1. Irrigation management: Knowing the available moisture in the soil allows for more efficient irrigation scheduling and water management. By ensuring that the soil moisture stays within the range between field capacity and the permanent wilting point, farmers can optimize water use, prevent over- or under-watering, and promote healthy plant growth.
2. Crop yield and quality: Adequate soil moisture is necessary for optimal crop growth and development, which directly impacts crop yield and quality. Insufficient soil moisture can lead to plant stress, reduced growth, and lower yields, while excessive soil moisture can cause waterlogging, root rot, and other issues.
3. Nutrient uptake: Soil moisture plays a crucial role in the availability and uptake of nutrients by plants. Many nutrients are dissolved in the soil water and are taken up by plant roots through the water uptake process. By maintaining appropriate soil moisture levels, farmers can ensure that plants have access to essential nutrients for growth and development.
4. Drought management: Understanding the available moisture in the soil can help farmers make informed decisions about crop selection and management practices in regions prone to drought. By selecting crops with lower water requirements or implementing strategies to conserve soil moisture, farmers can increase their resilience to drought and maintain crop productivity.

## Monitoring and Managing Soil Moisture

To optimize the available moisture for crop growth, farmers can implement various monitoring and management practices:

1. Soil moisture monitoring: Regularly measuring soil moisture levels using tools such as tensiometers, soil moisture sensors, or even manual methods like the feel method can help farmers determine the current soil moisture status and make informed decisions about irrigation scheduling and other management practices.
2. Irrigation scheduling: Based on soil moisture measurements and crop water requirements, farmers can schedule irrigation events to maintain the soil moisture within the optimal range for plant growth. This can help prevent over- or under-watering, conserve water resources, and promote healthy crop growth.
3. Soil and water conservation practices: Implementing soil and water conservation practices, such as mulching, cover cropping, and reduced tillage, can help maintain or increase soil moisture levels by reducing evaporation, increasing water infiltration, and improving soil structure.
4. Crop selection and management: Choosing crops with appropriate water requirements for the local climate and soil conditions can help optimize available moisture use. Additionally, adjusting planting dates, planting densities, and other management practices can also help maximize crop growth and yield under varying soil moisture conditions.
5. Drought-resistant crop varieties: In areas prone to drought, selecting drought-resistant or drought-tolerant crop varieties can help maintain crop productivity even under low soil moisture conditions.
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