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Raising Microbial

Link for Healthy Soil

Plants acquire sugars through photosynthesis, only 50 to 80 percent of those sugars support plant growth, reproduction and resistance from pests, the rest goes into the soil via the roots to feed the soil biology. Plants provide the inceptive energy to the soil food system through their roots. The compound secreted by roots is continuous and serves major roles as chemical inducement or repellency in the rhizosphere. These chemicals secreted refers to as root exudates. They enables the roots to control the microbial community, alter biochemical and physical soil properties, stimulates beneficial symbioses and hinder the growth of unwanted species. Exudates are the source of food for the microbes. The microbial community not only make nutrients available to the plants they also provide a protective layer against pests and diseases. It’s a win-win for the plants and the organisms living in the soil.

Soils consist of around 50 percent minerals, many are the nutrients plants need to grow, produce seeds or flowers, pollinate, photosynthesize and flower. As much as soil is a vast bank of minerals, most of these minerals are not in a form the plant can use.

Nitrogen, potassium, sulfur, phosphorus and many trace elements rely on soil life to make them available to plants. Microbes changes their form from one that’s difficult to use to one that’s perfect for the plants uptake. Microbes act as a link between the soil minerals and the plant example of the role of the microbe links is turning unavailable minerals into plant nutrients is how plants take up nitrogen.

Plants are encompassed by atmospheric nitrogen, but only microbes are able to turn that nitrogen into a usable form. Microbes also provide nitrogen by decomposing soil organic nitrogen and making it mineral nitrogen in forms of ammonium and nitrate that plants can take up. Without microbial nitrogen fixation and microbial breakdown of organic nitrogen into mineral nitrogen.

Knowing how important the microbe links is to plant growth and health is a great incentive for building a profitable yields on our farm. There are different practices that amplify the strength of the microbe link, and all require feeding an abundance of soil biology all year-round. You need diversity because the plants determine the soil life, and different types of plants both feed and benefit from different types of soil life.

Soil bacteria consume fresh materials and have a 5:1 carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in their bodies. They live and die quickly and are consumed by other soil organisms like nematodes and protozoa, which are closer to 10:1. The difference in the C: N ratio of the protozoa to that of bacteria means there is extra nitrogen the protozoa don’t need for their own metabolism that gets excreted back into the soil as plant food. By feeding our soil bacteria we are also enhancing nitrogen cycling and feeding our plants nitrogen.

Our soils have the ability to provide minerals, and the microbial link is key to making those minerals that are already in the soil available to plants. That’s how to get maximum yields on lighter soils. Being a biological farmer means diverting focus from chemistry to taking care of our soil biology. The emphasis is on the microbial links, rather than soluble fertilizers, to get nutrients to plants. When the soil, plants and microbes are in balance, and mineral fertilizer is applied, no need to buy all the plant technologies and chemistry that most farmers today depend on. Not only are those inputs expensive, but they don’t make our farms better in the future. Build a strong microbial links, focus on biology and soil health, and you will never complain of bad productivity.

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