The role of fungi is unparalleled in soil health. It is one of the most important groups of micro-organisms in the decomposition cycle and is probably one of the most resilient too.
Soil is truly amazing. If it is struggling to remedy itself, it will show you. Weeds are a symptom of conditions deteriorating soil health and resultantly, pasture health
Soil respiration has been extensively promoted as a simple, holistic measure of microbial activity in the soil. Simply capture and measure the amount of carbon dioxide produced by soil and you will have an idea of the metabolic activity of the life in the soil.
Active carbon is the part of soil organic matter that is readily available as an energy source for soil life. It is a very good indicator of soil health, responding much faster to changes in management practices than most other indicators.
In order to get the desired amount and quality of milk, cows need healthy pastures to graze on.
“The soil is the only stomach that the plant has”. I had never thought of soil in this manner before, and found it to be an interesting perspective.
If farmers could challenge themselves and stop applying excessive nutrients in the form of fertiliser, especially N, and rather focus on building soil carbon, that would force the soil organisms to start working (mineralise organic matter) for their own nutrients.
Multi-species pastures have become a prominent topic over the last few years. Why does everyone make such a big deal about it?
Here is a practical guide based on the work by Graham Shepherd to assess the health of your soil visually. Use this guide in association with the sustainability indicators if you want to improve your soil health.