Celebrated in several countries on Dec. 5, World Soil Day raises awareness about the importance of soil preservation and stimulates discussion on effective crop practices. These discussions quickly become a call to action. Many producers are looking to decrease the damage caused by inefficient management practices and, subsequently, improve crop results through a balance in soil microbiology.
More natural farming practices combined with modern science can help increase diversity in the soil biology. Dr. Steven Borst, general manager of Alltech Crop Science, emphasizes the importance of integrating biological technologies into existing management programs to feed the soil.
“We need to work with nature, not against it, to grow not only our crops, but our soil as well,” said Borst.
Better soil quality that is part of a healthy agribiome can increase plant health and, in turn, potentially decrease the amount of synthetic chemicals needed to combat stress and disease. The results include increased quality and productivity.
Around the world, each generation of growers worries about the legacy they will leave. In Texas, Mike Helle, a grower who has been using biologicals to improve soil health, knows that years of conventional practices have diminished natural microbes, and he wants to be a better steward of his farm. In Brazil, Silvia Nishikawa is learning to repopulate the soil on her farm with beneficial microorganisms so that she will have something to leave for her children.
“It is important for the grower to understand the delicate balance in the soil-plant system and the correlation between the two,” said Borst.
The foundation for healthier, more productive plants is nutrient-rich soil and management practices that continue to improve the soil with each passing season.