8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil

by Larry Cooper

8 SIMPLE STEPS TO HEALTHY CROP SOIL: A PREVIEW

Of course, you'll need to read this complete article to understand how and why each of these steps is essential for creating healthy crop soil, but here's a preview.

  • Understand that soil is a living system.
  • Measure and document your soil characteristics.
  • Disturb the soil structure as little as possible.
  • Bring plant diversity to the soil.
  • Keep soil covered at all times.
  • Keep living roots in the soil all year round.
  • Build soil organic matter.
  • Have a soil health plan: Review and revise it regularly.

Decline in soil health is one of the most potentially devastating world-wide crises of the 21st century, but the average person who does not farm probably never gives farm soil a second’s thought: The supermarkets are fully stocked—everything must be okay, right?

It’s not. A Reuters news headline from 2014 stated, “Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues.” The article quoted the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as saying that about a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded from chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation, and global warming. It was predicted that in 2050 the amount of agricultural land, in particular, would be only a quarter of the amount available in 1960—yet we will have 2 billion more people to feed.

What can be done about it? Quite a bit, actually; though reversing soil degradation and improving soil health is going to require changes in thinking and changes in some very hard-wired cultural practices. The 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil that we’re about to discuss are culled from a variety of farming philosophies, some as old as time itself. You can find them in modern-era discussions of Regenerative Agriculture, Restoration Agriculture, and Conservation Agriculture, but they also draw from many aspects of “conventional” farming that were in place long before the concept of “conventional” included chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Most important, these steps are modeled on the practices followed by Nature itself in every undisturbed forest floor, unplowed prairie, and pristine mountain meadow.

The very best thing about the 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil is that these practices can be profitably applied with good results by commercial farmers (conventional and organic), hobby farmers, community gardeners, even the “square-foot” backyard gardeners in the middle of a city. And while geography, soil type, and soil history certainly influence how the 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil are implemented, implementing them all (and it has to be all of them) will lead to good results in all soil-based plant-growing situations.

What are the benefits of healthy soil?

Better Yields. Healthy soil produces more abundant crops of higher quality that are less susceptible to pests and diseases, more drought resistant, and better tolerant of wind, heavy rain, hail, heat, and all the other mayhem that keeps farmers up at night.

Economic Return. In addition to better yields, crops will require less chemical input in terms of fertilizers and pesticides. This won’t happen overnight, or even necessarily in the first year or two. But in the long term, growers will find their input expenditures greatly reduced.

A Farm for the Kids. Restoring health to the soil in a sustainable way means that growers will leave their kids a productive, profitable farm that the kids, in turn, can also leave in good shape for the grandkids.

Saved Planet. Though not necessarily our immediate goal, following the 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil will increase the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil and lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere, which will help reduce global warming and give our grandkids’ grandkids a decent world in which they can live and prosper.

With these impressive benefits in mind, let’s dig deeper into how to create healthy crop soil.

Download/read the complete White Paper here.

BHN Launches “The Huma Gro Farmer” Podcast

Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), has launched a new podcast series titled The Huma Gro Farmer. The podcast features episodes on how to “grow healthy”—featuring interviews with industry leaders on specific agriculture-related topics, how to use Huma Gro® products for superior results, and best practices for using product combinations for specific crops (early podcast episodes focused on strawberries). [Read more…]

Flooded Strawberry Fields In Florida Delay Fumigation

 

Jason Garcia portrait

Jason Garcia

An interview with Jason Garcia, Florida Regional Manager and Agronomist

By Jael Batty

Flooded fields and ongoing rain in Florida have put a damper on strawberry fumigation and pre-plant preparation. In August and September, strawberry growers are normally fumigating and laying plastic in preparation for the upcoming strawberry season. This year, they’re not. Strawberry growers in Florida are underwater right now in terms of their soil saturation. Our advice to strawberry farmers: don’t fumigate and don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Continue reading

Our Humic Advantage

Humic substances, among the most wondrous products of nature, are the recycled essential residues of life. Plants harvest the sun’s energy and create life from that energy plus the carbon and oxygen they pull out of the air and the minerals they pull out of the soil. When plants die, all of their components are decomposed through the aid of microorganisms and mineralization, then returned to the soil as organic matter. [Read more…]

Huma Gro®: Practically Perfect in Every Way for Strawberries

Successful strawberry farming presents many unique challenges. As with every other type of crop, each farm will have its own challenges related to soil, soil tilth, soil pathogens, soil nutrient cycling, nutrient availability, plant vigor, irrigation needs, etc. Combined with those challenges are strawberry farming cultural practices related to continuous cropping and soil fumigation—with the resulting lack of crop diversity and soil microbial diversity that increases soil-borne diseases and tends to reduce yields over time. Strawberry farming continues to get more expensive while yields (and profits) are diminishing. What to do?
Continue reading

The Value of Humic Substances in the Carbon Lifecycle of Crops: Humic Acids, Fulvic Acids, and Beyond

humates

By Larry Cooper, with Rita Abi-Ghanem, PhD

Humic substances play an important role in soil fertility and crop yield. This article provides a basic overview of what humic substances are, how they are created, and how they work. Discussion is provided on how to add humic content to crop soil, including the use of commercial products such as the Huma Gro® line of carbon-rich organic acids.
Continue reading

Promax®: A Proven Soil Biopesticide

OMRI-Listed Huma Gro® Promax® is a soil-applied fungicide and nematicide used as a preventive and a curative agent. It is recommended for the control of many fungal diseases in the soil, as well as plant parasitic nematodes in a wide range of crops. Continue reading

Micro Carbon Technology®: The Video

Micro Carbon Technology® is a proprietary blend of extremely small organic carbon- and oxygen-rich molecules that act as a source of carbon and provide an ultra-efficient vehicle to move nutrients and other molecules into the plant through the soil and/or the leaves.

How does it work? Watch the video.

Continue reading

Huma Gro®: The World’s Most Efficient Delivery of Crop N-P-K Nutrients

Huma Gro® products with Micro Carbon Technology® offer an unsurpassed level of application efficiency, allowing farmers to grow more with less fertilizer input. Growing more with less lowers input costs and maximizes return on investment. It also decreases the amount of N-P-K residues that can negatively impact the environment.
Continue reading

Intro to Huma Gro®: The Video

Watch a short (4:18) video introduction to the Huma Gro® product line of crop nutrition and crop protection products.

Continue reading

Translate »
>