Stimulating and Feeding the native microbial life is absolutely essential if a grower is trying to maximize his crop yield potential and develop a sustainable system for increasing organic matter, improving nutrient availability, and creating soil balance. In a healthy soil ecosystem, soil microbes regulate the flow and exchange of nutrients in many ways. All applied fertilizer must pass through the soil organisms before it can be utilized by the crop, not to mention the vast stores of nutrients that reside in our “soil reserves”, these are released and made available to the plant through biological actions in the soil. Also developing a larger and more advanced root structure on crops provides a greater opportunity for nutrient uptake by the plant. In healthy soil, fungal filaments and exudates from soil microbes and earthworms help to bind soil particles together that improve water and nutrient holding capacity and protect the topsoil from erosion, crusting and compaction. How well an individual soil performs is greatly dependent upon the complexity of microbial activity and soil balance within a given area. Below ground deficiency can lead to above ground yield variances and inconsistency. A perfect example of this occurred several years ago while I was riding on a combine during corn harvest. I would pull a soil test where the yield monitor was showing in excess of 250 bushel and then also within the same field I pulled a soil test where the monitor was showing 140 bushel. The Soil Test showed no variation between the 2 areas that could have possibly accounted for a 110 bushel increase. What then, could cause such … a dramatic difference in yield within a field that basically showed the identical nutrient availability? It’s biological activity in the Soil.
Ray Trent is the National Field advisor for the Pro-Soil Ag Solutions, with over 20 yrs experience in Soil Management Products.