Why is soil biology important on your farm?
The triangle-known as the most stable of geometric shapes. The uses of the triangle reach beyond our imagination and create stability anywhere it is used. If you look around, you see it everywhere…rafters, bridges, ladders, sails. Over the past few months, I have shared with you the importance of the soil’s chemical and physical properties. These are two sides of the soil triangle, but what is the third? Just like the triangle, without the third side, it would have no stability.
The biological properties of the soil are by far the least understood of the soil system. Did you know that in one teaspoon of soil, there are between 100 million to 1 billion bacteria and several yards of fungi? I have heard it said that the amount of biology in the soil was the equivalent of feeding two full-grown African elephants per acre. I find this simply unbelievable. Although they are the least understood, their role in the soil is tremendous.
Forms of Soil Biology
Soil biology comes in many forms, from bacteria to fungi, from protozoa to nematodes, to the earthworms and a vast number of invertebrates in the soil. All of these biological populations play an important role in the soil. Earthworms and invertebrates help to break down organic material into smaller forms for the bacteria and fungi. Every biological population helps control each other in a healthy balance.
Many of the microbes help make nutrients available to the plant by converting minerals in the soil to plant available nutrients. They also help to prevent and fight diseases in the soil and promote root growth. Exudates released by soil biology that help to give the soil it’s structure. The soil biology needs one nutrient in order to thrive and function properly. They need oxygen. Promoting good soil chemistry and good soil structure, oxygen is made available to the biology in the soil that need it to survive.
Soil health is achieved when all three sides of the soil triangle are in place.. Farmers and landowners must look at this from all sides to get the most out of the soil. At the same time keep it healthy and productive for generations to come. If you have any questions on the health of your soil, please give me a call or contact me through email. This should be the priority of everyone feeding the world.