Friday, January 29, 2016

Soil 304: Supressed

Conventional agricultural soils are dead (or at least biologically suppressed) due to the use of highly salt based fertilizers like super phosphate, which suppresses soil life and anhydrous ammonia which burns out the organic matter the soil life feeds on.

When the soil is in this biological state the farmer is just using the soil as a hydroponic growing medium and totally bypassing the biological systems that the plants use in an organic growing system. These biological systems are called the rhisophere and consist of a whole cascade of living symbiotic critters around the roots of the plant.

When we moved to our farm it took 3 years to wake the soil up and achieve a critical mass of biology for our plants to thrive. We farm organically so once we got the process started it was easy to sustain as we don't keep piling biological inhibitors into the soil.

But what if you don't farm organically. There are several options:
  1. You can use biologicals from AgriEnergy Resources and others to help rebuild the biology in the soil.
  2. You can use cover crops to jump start the biology. Till them into the soil to break down and watch the biology feast on the bounty. Several seasons of this will do some amazing things to your soil, soil life and organic matter.
  3. You could add compost, manure or other organic matter to your soil.
The next big thing in Agriculture, conventional or organic is building soil.

Indiana is in the lead, they have over 1 million acres of row crops that are being cover cropped. This is up from 20,000 acres just 5 years ago. GO INDIANA.

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