Soil Health Matters
For our health and the health of the planet
Just like us, soil is a living organism that needs air, water and essential nutrients to thrive. Healthy soil enables proper water management, recycles nutrients, and plays a pivotal role in storing carbon, helping mitigate climate change. Soil health is the foundation for resilient crop production and sustainable farming.
Today around one-third of agricultural soil is degraded, threatening food security. Soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and pollution contribute to soil degradation. If soils are not replenished with nutrients removed during harvest, this will add to the problem. There is an urgent need to restore our soils.
Learn more about the importance of maintaining healthy soils.
Allow plants and beneficial microbes to flourish
Healthy soil allows plants and beneficial microbes to flourish. Adequate soil pH, low salinity, and sufficient supply of essential nutrients promote plant growth and development, ultimately boosting crop yield and quality.
Regular soil testing and corrective actions such as utilizing lime and sulfur-based compounds to manage soil pH, monitoring of water salt levels, and following the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship for fertilizer application are among the recommended management practices.
Improve water productivity
Getting the most out of every drop matters more than ever with water scarcity being an issue in many regions and the overall need for wiser water management. Soils that are well aggregated and have adequate levels of organic matter will facilitate aeration, improving water infiltration and water holding capacity. Healthy soils can help plants utilize water more efficiently.
Practices that improve soil aggregation and structure, such as reducing machinery passes to avoid compaction, and improve soil organic matter, such as cover cropping and less tillage, will promote good soil structure and consequently water productivity.
Promote root growth
If soil conditions are not favorable for root growth, plants will not be able to fully use the water and nutrients. Calcium plays a critical role in maintaining and improving soil properties. Calcium cations bind clay minerals into the microaggregates required for root health.
Soil testing to assess not only calcium levels but all essential nutrients is important for determining a complete, balanced nutrition program that will aid in keeping soils healthy, and promoting root growth.