Plant health starts underground with healthy soil

  • It is paramount for the grower to understand the intricacies of the soil-plant relationship.
  • Over 20 percent of soils worldwide have been degraded through agricultural practices.
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It takes 1,000 years to naturally create 1 inch of topsoil. Now consider that over 20 percent of soils worldwide have been degraded through agricultural practices.   
 
Resting the land for thousands of years is not a realistic response to soil degradation. However, a viable solution may be found in agricultural management practices that are focused on retaining and repopulating the soil with beneficial microorganisms that improve soil health and quality.
 
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations established World Soil Day, celebrated on Dec. 5, to raise awareness about the importance of soil in the natural system. 
 
“It is paramount for the grower to understand the intricacies of the soil-plant relationship,” explains Ney Ibrahim, director of Alltech Crop Science Brazil. 
 

Reestablishing soil health

 
Plant health starts from the ground up. When growers use practices that promote the reestablishment of the biological balance in the soil, such as cover crops, crop rotation and natural fertilizers, this improves the interactions between soil and plant. These practices can help decrease negative plant response to environmental stressors and increase productivity. 
 
Microbiological management gives life to the soil and increases nutrient availability that the plant can then use to enhance its root growth and possibly increase immunity and disease suppression. 
 
Meanwhile, organic matter is returned to the soil, creating a positive cycle for future crops and leaving a legacy of sustainability for the new generation of growers.        
 

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