Declining pulse production has caused wide concern in recent years. A field experiment was conducted to investigate effects of balance fertilizers based on soil test values and targeted yield equations on soil biological activities, soil quality, nutrient acquisition and grain yield of lentil. Treatments included the use of farmyard manure (FYM), bio-inoculants and inorganic fertilizers at different rates and combinations. The results revealed significant improvement in nodulation, microbial counts, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soil respiration, soil enzymes and soil organic carbon (SOC) with integrated approaches (i.e. fertilizer plus FYM or bio-inoculants); these improvements led to achievement of the specific target yield of 1.50 t/ha. Although the highest yield was achieved with fertilizers applied for a target yield of 2.0 t/ha, there was significant decline in nodulation, microbial counts, MBC, soil respiration, soil enzymes, SOC and soil quality. Correlation between soil quality index (SQI) and grain yield suggested a significant influence of balanced fertilization based on soil tests and target yield. Principal component analysis revealed the average contribution of soil quality indicators towards SQI was in descending order of SOC > acid phosphatase activity > total culturable fungi > available phosphorus > BMC, which are crucial for sustainable lentil production in alluvial soils.