Healthy Soil Healthy People

The value of Soil Biota and Carbon - Carbon Buzz

6 June 2016

The farmers that LawrieCo work with value Soil Carbon and beneficial Soil Biology for different reasons (productivity, soil, plant and animal health, fertiliser efficiency and many more).

However in recent times Soil Carbon is also valued as a means to combat climate change. Interestingly our soils already hold three times as much carbon as exists in the atmosphere and there's room for more.

Read the blog exerpt below on how the life in our soil can contribute to addressing climate change from Scientific American

Global soils already hold three times as much carbon as exists in the atmosphere, and there’s room for much more. According to a recent study in Nature, enhanced carbon storage in the world’s farmland soils could reduce greenhouse gas concentrations by between 50 and 80 percent.

To realize this stunning potential, farmers would need to adopt certain game-changing farming practices that restore depleted soils, largely through spurring the activity of the soil microbiome, a web of microscopic life that includes fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and trillions of other bacteria that promote plant growth. Like the microbes that live in and on our bodies, helping us with everything from nutrition to immune responses, soil microbes are allies. They can help us deal with many of the climate challenges facing agriculture.

Indeed, we are just beginning to understand how to harness the potential of soil microbes. Research has shown they can help restore degraded soils, including land in Mexico’s southern Sonoran desert. This capacity gives soil microbes the potential of revolutionize agriculture. Healthier soils produce higher crop yields, hold water more effectively, sequester more carbon and allow for increased agricultural productivity on existing land.

Secondly, soil microbes can help plants tolerate hot temperatures and drought brought about by climate change. Recent research has shown that soil microbes can help plants like wheat, rice , pepper and maize to withstand drought. Plants treated with soil microbes have a deeper root system and their shoots grow more quickly. Consequently, under drought stress, plants inoculated with microbes can more effectively take up water from drying soil and maintain near-normal shoot growth rates resulting in increased crop productivity.

Thirdly, soil microbes increase plant defenses against insect pests whose populations are expected to increase due to the changing climate. In India, researchers have shown that soil microbes applied directly to seeds helped plants combat the rice leaf-folder insect, an important rice pest in China, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. In another study, treatment of cotton plants with soil microbes helped them fight off beet armyworm, by killing its larvae.

What’s more, soil microbes can improve overall plant growth.

Click Here To read the whole blog article

Click Here To read about farmers we work with and the results they see by re-building soil carbon and beneficial biology as part of their fertiliser programs.


Beneficial Soil Biota: VAM Fungi promote soil carbon building processes in the soil

VAM Hyphae during production of spores at LawrieCo

VAM is a fungi which grows inside plant roots, providing the plant with extra nutrients from the soil beyond the reach of roots (especially phosphorous and zinc), in exchange for sugars from the plant. Around 80% of plants support VAM fungi as part of their root systems.

For more information on including VAM with seed Click Here to read about SureCrop VAM Seed Treatment