Ukrainian “Chernozem”

by Anna Gayduk
Monday, November 29, 2021
Ukrainian “Chernozem”

Black soil, famous for its high fertility and ability to produce high agricultural yields, covers 46% of Ukraine

The most common soil of Ukraine is chernozem, which occupies almost the entire steppe and forest-steppe zone except for the west. The area of ​chernozem in Ukraine is the largest on earth after the US one. Chernozem is among the best soils in the world and is characterized by high fertility. It is the basis of agriculture in Ukraine, and thus the wealth of our country.

The humus of the soil paints it a dark color and sticks small particles of soil into coarser aggregates, giving the soil structure. Soil lime neutralizes organic acids formed by bacteria and fixes humus in the soil, precipitating organic colloidal compounds. The richness of chernozems on organic-mineral colloids makes them very active physicochemically, capable of the reaction of exchange of cations of salts in the soil solution and low variability of the reaction of the soil.

Chernozem is loose and, thanks to this, absorbs and holds water well, and at the same time is easily ventilated. All this creates very favorable conditions for plant nutrition and bacterial growth in chernozems. The natural fertility of chernozem is high and can be further increased by applying appropriate agricultural measures, including deep cultivation (30 cm).

The incorporation of chernozem, even in the most depleted soil, leads to its recovery, restoration of all its characteristics, especially water permeability, and enrichment with nutrients. An especially significant effect is noticeable when using chernozem on light sandy and loamy soils. Chernozem can be used alone or as part of soil mixtures. It should be noted that the single use of chernozem on the site does not solve the problem of fertility once and for all. Over time, the microbiological composition of the soil changes, and with it the content of nutrients decreases. In itself, the method of application of chernozem soil is technologically very similar to the method of application of peat and peat mixtures. For example, when mixing hard loam chernozem with sand, a loamy fertile layer with an optimal particle size distribution and a large amount of humus and nutrients is formed.

Chernozem is used for growing cereals, fodder crops, vegetables. Vineyards, gardens, shrubs, and ornamental plants are planted on the soil containing chernozem.

It is important to remember that it does not maintain its positive properties permanently. Within a few years of active cultivation, nutrients are absorbed by plants, some of them are washed away, and the microflora dies. To maintain a high degree of fertility and mineral composition, chernozem requires periodic fertilization.

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