The rhizosphere represents a fascinating and complex system, which plays a crucial role in the functioning of the soil ecosystem and the health of plants. This zone is characterized by an intricate web of biological, chemical, and physical interactions between the plant, the soil microorganisms, and the soil itself. One of the key functions of the rhizosphere is to facilitate nutrient uptake by plants, by enhancing the availability and accessibility of nutrients in the soil. Another important role of the rhizosphere is to mitigate plant stress, by providing a range of protective and supportive functions. Understanding the mechanisms underlying nutrient cycling and stress response in the rhizosphere can help us to develop more sustainable and efficient agricultural practices, which can improve soil fertility and plant productivity, while minimizing environmental impact.
Soils containing excessive concentrations of sodium and magnesium can have detrimental effects on plant growth and productivity. These minerals can accumulate in the soil to high levels due to various factors, including irrigation with water containing high salt content, excessive application of fertilizers rich in these minerals, and the deposition of animal excreta from grazing animals, which contain significant amounts of sodium and magnesium.
Production systems that are highly reliant on fertiliser is exposed to high risk and is severely influenced by fertiliser prices. Nutrient circularity is a concept which relates to the efficient use and recycling of nutrients in a closed-loop system. This approach can help to reduce the need for synthetic fertilisers and other inputs, increase resource use efficiency, and support sustainable agricultural and food systems.
Taking advantage, or greater advantage, of biological nitrogen fixation, seems like a logical option for a chemical nitrogen substitute. Adding legumes to your cropping system, and managing them well, has great potential to add significant amounts of nitrogen to your system, in a more sustainable way than chemical fertilisers.
We did not need this research to give us confidence in the principles we advocate for in terms of nitrogen fertiliser management on dairy pastures. But it is encouraging to see other research which confirms what we have been observing.
The purpose of this article is purely to provoke thought. To ask you to consider where you fall in the spectrum of techonogist and environmentalist, and to think about how this perspective influences your view of the solutions that are presented to you every day.
The main culprit, of nitrous oxide emissions, in agriculture is the excessive use of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers. Fortunately, that is something farmers can do something about.
Transpiration depends on evaporation, therefore factors affecting the rate of evaporation also affect the rate of transpiration.
Soil fungi increase security, awareness, and knowledge for those connected to them. Any soil management action that results in the breakage of these connections, such as tillage and fungicides, destroys the entire nerve system of the soil thus isolating plants and soil organisms from each other.
Effluent may be a waste product generated on dairy farms, but it can be a valuable resource when disposed of correctly and in the right places.