Unfortunately, there’s no negotiating with crops about their performance and productivity in your soil. Each species requires a different blend of nutrients, soil acidity, and water supply to flourish – and they won’t compromise on anything less than their optimum growing conditions.
This would be fine if the health of any soil system was static, but the nature of traditional farming practices depletes soil quality, if left unmanaged. In fact, scientists predict that if action is not taken, topsoil would disappear globally in less than 60 years.
The good news is that more growers are pursuing better soil management and eco-friendly practices to improve the sustainability of their soil for the future. If you follow suit and focus on proactive soil management, your crops will receive a number of benefits – even in less-than-ideal conditions.
Greater Moisture Retention
Unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change make every ounce of water all the more precious. Healthy soil structures and microbe populations are essential to retain any available water within the ground, but industrial farming practices undermine those benefits. Using cover crops in the off-season and the right biostimulants at appropriate intervals can help stave off soil degradation. The root system of the cover crops filter water deeper into the soil and microbes absorb water to retain it locally.
Increased Soil Fertility
Agricultural processes quickly exhaust preexisting nutrient supplies if no action is taken to replenish them. Growers have long used synthetic fertilizers to supplement existing deficiencies, but these dense artificial sources of nutrients can cause more harm than good. They oversaturate crops, causing the nutrient run-off of nitrogen, which can poison local ecosystems and the water table.
Again, cover crops can help improve soil fertility, absorbing excess nutrients for use by cash crops in the future. Plus, nurturing beneficial microbes with amino acids and alginic acids from the right biostimulant can enhance their nutrient uptake, preventing essential nutrients from leaching out of the soil.
Greater Soil Microbe Diversity
What happens at the microscopic level has a significant impact on your crops. When there are robust and resilient populations of certain beneficial microbes, harmful fungi and diseases have a harder time competing for resources. In some cases, the right soil microbes can even help plants develop immunity or tolerance to a select group of prevalent diseases.
The Importance of Soil Management as a Whole
Very few actions occur in agriculture that do not impact the whole, and soil management is no exception. While improving the health and productivity of crops, proper soil management also enhances the sustainability of soil and grower operations. This not only means that less top soil is lost due to agricultural practices, but growers won’t need to worry if their work will continue to yield nutrient-rich results.
Want to learn more about soil management and your operations? Reach out to a member of the Acadian Kelp® team.