Integrated Nutrient Management(INM): Importance, Components

Integrated nutrient management (INM) combines chemical fertilizers with organic resource materials like biofertilizers, organic manures, and other decomposable organic materials for agricultural production

INMS is ecologically, socially, and economically viable and environmentally friendly which can be practiced by farmers to spring higher productivity while simultaneously maintaining soil fertility.

Because it encourages the use of organics grown on the farm, integrated nutrient management reduces the need for fertilizers in crop production. Chemical fertilizers, organic manure, crop residues, nitrogen-fixing crops like rice beans and black gram, as well as other pulses and oilseeds like soybean, and bio-fertilizers that are compatible with the land use system and ecological, social, and economic conditions are all necessary components.

The cropping system rather than an individual crop, and the farming system rather than an individual field, are the focus of attention in this approach for the development of Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) practices for various categories.

What is Integrated Nutrient Management?

Integrated Nutrient Management system is the management and conservation of natural resource base and the orientation of technological and institutional agencies in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continuing satisfaction of human needs for the present and future generations.


Integrated nutrient management definition:

Integrated Nutrient Management refers to the maintenance of soil fertility and plant nutrient supply at an optimum level for sustaining the desired productivity through optimizing the profits from all possible organic, inorganic, and biological components in an integrated method.

Concepts of Integrated Nutrient Management

The basic concept of Integrated Nutrient Management is the maintenance of soil fertility, sustainable agricultural productivity, and cultivating profitability through judicious and resourceful use of fertilizers as mentioned.

Regulated nutrient supply for ideal crop growth and higher productivity. Improvement and maintenance of soil fertility and productivity.

Zero adverse impact on agroecosystem quality by balanced fertilization of organic manures, inorganic fertilizers, and biofertilizers.

Importance of Integrated Nutrient Management:

The importance of integrated nutrient management (INM) in agriculture cannot be overstated, as it plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainable and responsible farming practices. INM emphasizes the balanced utilization of diverse nutrient sources, including organic, inorganic, and biological elements, intending to foster optimal plant growth, maintain soil health, and preserve the environment. Here’s a breakdown of the key importance associated with INM:

1. Improved Crop Productivity and Quality:

a. Balanced Nutrition: 

INM ensures a comprehensive spectrum of nutrients, preventing deficiencies and imbalances that could impede crop growth and compromise quality.

b. Efficient Nutrient Use: 

The approach optimizes the utilization of nutrients from various sources, minimizing wastage and maximizing overall benefits.

c. Enhanced Soil Health: 

Incorporating organic matter from composts and manures enhances soil structure, aeration, and water retention. This, in turn, promotes better root development and nutrient uptake.

2. Environmental Sustainability:

a. Reduced Pollution:

 INM reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers, mitigating water pollution caused by fertilizer runoff and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertilizer production.

b. Improved Soil Health: 

By fostering organic matter and microbial activity, INM contributes to enhanced soil health, facilitating carbon sequestration and reducing soil erosion.

c. Promotes Biodiversity: 

The use of diverse nutrient sources and the cultivation of healthy soil create an environment conducive to various beneficial organisms, fostering a balanced ecosystem.

3. Economic Benefits for Farmers:

a. Reduced Costs:

 INM can assist in lowering the dependency on expensive chemical fertilizers, particularly benefiting resource-constrained farmers.

b. Improved Income: 

Increased crop yields and enhanced quality can lead to better market prices, resulting in higher income for farmers.

c. Resilience to Changing Climate: 

INM practices such as mulching and cover cropping improve soil moisture retention and drought tolerance, making farms more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Determinants of Integrated Nutrient Management:

The cropping system as a whole needs nutrients. Local availability of nutrient resources (organic, inorganic, and biological sources) and special management requirements to address soil issues

Economic conditions of farmers and profitability of proposed INM possibility. Social acceptability. Ecological considerations. Impact on the environment.

Objectives of Integrated Nutrient Management:

  • To guarantee productive and sustainable agriculture.
  • To lessen use on expenses of bought inputs by utilizing ranch excrement, harvest buildup, and so forth.
  • To make use of the potential advantages of bio-fertilizers, leguminous crops, and green manures.
  • To avoid degradation of the environment.
  • To meet the social and economic aspirations of the farmers without harming the natural resource base of agricultural production.
  • To Encouragement of the judicious use of chemical fertilizers organic manure, and green manure.
  • To recycle and use organic wastes.
  • To maximize nutrient use efficiency.
  • To avoid over-exploitation of natural resources.
  • To protect soil health for future generations.
  • To create of positive nutrient balance in the soil.

Principles of Integrated Nutrient Management:

Six basic principles of a sustainable INM system laid out by Dennis Greenland (quoted by Meelu, 1996) include:

  • Nutrients removed by crops must be refunded to the soil.
  • Soil physical and chemical conditions should be maintained and upgraded.
  • Organic carbon levels of soils should be maintained and improved.
  • The build-up of abiotic stress should be minimal.
  • Deprivation of land occurring due to soil erosion must be controlled.
  • Soil quality concerning soil acidity, salinity, and sodicity or toxic elements build-up must be minimized.

Components of the integrated Nutrient Management:

The component of integrated nutrient management including Fertilizers, organic manures, legumes, crop residues, and biofertilizers are the main elements of INM.


Fertilizers continued to be the most important ingredient of INM. The dependence on fertilizers has been increasing continuously because of the need to supply large amounts of nutrients in thorough cropping with high productivity.

Domestic fertilizer production is inadequate to meet the requirements and the situation is not likely to improve in shortly the other hand, constraints like the global price of fertilizers and raw materials would not certificate fertilizer import in large amounts leading to a big gap between supply and consumption.

While organics and biofertilizers are predicted to bridge a part of this gap, efficient use of fertilizers in falling the nutrient supply gap also needs greater emphasis. Utilization of fertilizer nutrients by the crops varies 30-50% in case e of N, 15- 20% in case of P, and less than 5% in case of micronutrients. Thus, a substantial quantity of applied nutrients is lost complete various pathways.

Enhancing NUE, therefore, is an is prioritized area of research for the restoration and improvement of soil health and minimizing the cost of crop production.

2. Organic Manures:

Organic manures like compost, FYM, crop residues, human excreta, urban refuse, rural compost, sewage sludge mud, and o, other agro-industrial wastes have large nutrient potential. Compost and FYM have conventionally been the most important manures for maintaining soil fertility and confirming yield stability.

Other potential organic sources of nutrients such as non-edible oil cakes and wastes from the food processing industry are also there. However, these nutrient carriers have not been accurately estimated to establish their fertilizer equivalents. There is a need to integrate these sources depending on their availability in different crops and cropping systems.

3. Legumes:

Legumes have a long-standing history of being soil fertility preservers due to their capability to obtain N from the atmosphere in symbiosis with Rhizobia. Legumes could deliver an important ingredient of INM when grown for grain or fodder in a cropping system, or presented for green manuring. Legumes are grown as green manure, forage, or grain, crops improve the productivity of the rice-whether t cropping system (RWCS) and rejuvenated soil fertility (Yadav et al., 2000)

4. Crop Residues:

Although crop residues may not always be available as an ingredient in INM, they have several competing uses in areas like North-West India where mechanical harvesting is used., a sizeable quantity of residues is left in the field, which can form a part of the nutrient supply. Large amounts of residues of other crops like potatoes, sugar potatoes vegetables, etc.

Even though cereal crop residues are valuable cattle feed, they can be used as a fertilizer supplement wherever they are available. Depending on the crop, the number of stubbles left in the field after traditional harvesting methods are used ranges from 0.45 to 1.5t/ha. This quantity is significantly higher when mechanical harvesting is used. clumps of coarse cereals like sorghum, pearl millet, and maize, among others which, due to the significant loss of plant nutrients, are typically collected and burned during land preparation.

5. Biofertilizers:

Biofertilizers are substances with living or latent cells of agriculturally beneficial microorganisms. These microorganisms are important for increasing crop productivity and soil fertility because they can fix atmospheric nitrogen, solubilize and mobilize phosphorus, and decompose farm waste, releasing plant nutrients. The number and efficiency of these microorganisms, which are, however, influenced by numerous soil and environmental factors, determine how much benefit they provide.

Advantages of Integrated Nutrient Management (INM):

Synchronizes the crop’s need for nutrients with the supply of nutrients from native and applied sources; improves the availability of applied and native soil nutrients.

Minimizes the negative effects of hidden deficiencies and imbalances in nutrients and provides crops with balanced nutrition.

Maintains and improves the physical, chemical, and biological functions of the soil.

Reduces nutrient losses to ground and surface water bodies as well as the atmosphere, thereby reducing soil, water, and ecosystem degradation to a minimum.

Disadvantages of Integrated Nutrient Management (INM):

The INM approach not only makes it easier for agriculture to adapt to climate change, but it is also sensitive to changes in the climate and could have negative effects if soil and crop nutrients are not monitored consistently and fertilizer practices are not adjusted accordingly.

Inorganic fertilizer may not be an option for small-scale farmers because the cost of fertilizers may make up too much of the total variable cost of production.


In conclusion, integrated nutrient management (INM) emerges as a cornerstone for sustainable agriculture, offering a holistic approach to enhance crop productivity, preserve soil health, and promote environmental well-being. By advocating for a balanced blend of organic, inorganic, and biological nutrient sources.

Integrated nutrient management (INM) not only ensures optimal plant growth and efficient nutrient utilization but also contributes significantly to reducing pollution and fostering biodiversity. The economic benefits for farmers, including cost reduction and increased income, underscore its crucial role in supporting livelihoods. Ultimately, the adoption of integrated nutrient management (INM) stands as a multifaceted solution, addressing food security, environmental protection, and economic resilience in the face of a changing climate.


How integrated nutrient management improve the carbon capacity of soil?

Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) improves soil carbon capacity by incorporating organic sources like composts, enhancing soil organic matter. This fosters better soil structure, water retention, and microbial activity, promoting carbon sequestration.

How can we increase nutrient efficiency through integrated nutrient management?

By optimizing the balanced use of organic, inorganic, and biological nutrient sources, INM prevents deficiencies, reduces wastage, and maximizes nutrient benefits, enhancing overall nutrient efficiency.

How do we increase nutrient efficiency through integrated nutrient management?

Nutrient efficiency is boosted in INM by ensuring a comprehensive range of nutrients, efficient utilization from all sources, and improved soil health, promoting optimal plant growth and reducing environmental impact.

What is included in integrated nutrient management?

INM incorporates organic (composts, manures), inorganic, and biological nutrient sources, emphasizing a balanced approach to promote crop productivity, soil health, and environmental sustainability.

Why integrated nutrient management?

INM is crucial for sustainable agriculture, ensuring balanced nutrition, reducing environmental impact, promoting biodiversity, and providing economic benefits to farmers, thus addressing food security, environmental protection, and economic wellbeing.

Read More:

Integrated Farming System: 9 Models, Objectives & Advantages

20 Benefits Of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Cropping System: Principles, Types And Advantages

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