A Focus on Soil Health
Friday, December 16, 2016
There seems to be more and more articles in the press addressing soil health as an epiphany in agriculture. Well, I say it’s about time. Andaman-Ag has always promoted the “healthy soil equals healthy plant” perspective and I’m encouraged the discussion about the benefits of soil health are emerging. Here are two interesting examples:
From GreenBiz, an article on a 10-step plan for soil health, presented by the Nature Conservancy and the Soil Health Institute. The article highlights “The United Nations estimates that a 60 percent increase in food production will be required by 2050. Conversely, the carbon richness of U.S. agricultural soil has declined by about 60 percent since the Industrial Revolution. Since 1875, organic matter in soils declined from 6 percent concentration to 1.4 percent organic matter today.” The full Nature Conservancy and the Soil Health Institute document rethink Soil; A Roadmap to U.S. Soil Health, provides a collaborative roadmap to better soil health.
A practical example of building soil health is profiled in “When Industrial-Scale Farming Is The Sustainable Path” A Kansas farmer of 4500 acres of grains is no longer plowing as plowing strips soil bare, exposing it to erosion by rain and wind. It collapses soil structure — closing off the water channels left by deep roots and worms — and harms life in the soil, which though it may appear dead is in fact Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystem, containing a third of all organisms. Those thousands of microbial species are critical to human survival. They sustain photosynthesis, which all food and oxygen come from, by ferrying nutrients to plants and protecting them from pathogens. They decompose wastes, turning corpses of plants and animals back into new life. They’re also directly vital to human health, the source of 90 percent of antibiotics and 60 percent of anticancer drugs.
Andaman-Ag represents products which specifically benefit soil health. Utilized in combination with each other they have the capability of reducing nutrient loss, decreasing water runoff as well as topsoil erosion all of which lead to healthier, more productive land, superior crops and profitability.
The benefits of restoring soil to “green field beginnings” will continue to gain momentum as it just makes good farming sense.