“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.
Have you ever wondered what is going on beneath your soil? Do a basic visual soil assessment and compare it to the sustainability indicators in order to predict when soil quality starts deteriorating.
The carbon in plants is then transferred to the soil when plant roots and vegetation die and are incorporated into the soil by microorganisms in the soil.
Do you have large cracks in your soil? This could be the result of excess sodium. Read this blog to see the positive impact of gypsum application on excess sodium and an improvement in soil structure.
The challenge for farmers is sieving through all these techniques at their disposal and finding that one technique which they understand and identify with – one which is simple and informative enough for them that they would be able to use the results and implement directed management practices on their farm.
One of the challenges for farmers with regards to soil life is knowing whether the practices they are implementing are positively contributing to healthy soils, which are conducive to soil organisms flourishing. To this end we have been measuring various indicators of life in the soil.
The Woodlands Dairy soil lab analyses are used as soil sustainability indicators that form a part of the SWAN sustainable system.