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Improve soil microbial life to improve your soil

10. August 2023

Soil microbes drive a myriad of beneficial processes that are essential for a healthy soil. Increased microbial activity leads to higher nutrient availability as well as nutrient retention in the soil and incorporating practices that encourage abundance and diversity of soil microbes improves soil aggregation, water penetration, and water retention and decreases soil erosion. All of these factors create more resilient crops as well as regenerate depleted soils.

There are billions of microorganisms for every gram of soil. The soil organisms are made up of a complex food web of primarily bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and protozoa which all impact soil health.

But what exactly makes them so important?

Bacteria make up the largest part of the soil microorganisms, both in number and volume. They live in the water film around soil particles and in the rhizosphere where they take care of many important functions. Bacteria are a very diverse group and can do anything from improve soil aggregation abilities and nutrient cycling to fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Fungi are important decomposers since they’re capable of breaking down lignin and other compounds that other organisms aren’t able to decompose. They also form symbiosis with plants and help them access otherwise inaccessible nutrients because their tiny hyphae allow them to take up nutrients from areas that plant roots are too big to utilize. Fungi do better in undisturbed soils where their long hyphae aren’t broken.

Nematodes directly impact nutrient availability as they consume nitrogen from feeding on bacteria and release readily available ammonium. They are also beneficial in the decomposition of organic material because their feeding accelerates the decomposition process.

Protozoa are the grazers of the soil where they feed on bacteria and fungi which releases plant-available ammonium. They consume more than 50% of bacterial productivity in soil and thereby enhance nutrient cycling to the benefit of crops.

Because of all these vital functions, taking care of soil microorganisms and improving their conditions can lead to healthier soils and more resilient crops. At Agroganic, we work WITH the soil and know the importance of taking care of the soil’s microbiome. Contact us today to learn more about regenerative farming and how you can take care of your soil’s microbial life and improve your soil health!

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