Making adjustments to how soil is thought of and managed can yield some significant long-term benefits when applied to farming operations. Rising costs of agricultural inputs has been one of the contributing factors for a renewed focus on soil management techniques in recent years.
“All farmers invest in new equipment, they invest in their buildings, so invest in your soils too,” said Rex Dufour, Manager of the California Office of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. “It goes beyond applying NPK fertilizers. Understanding your soil as an ecology and managing it as an ecology is an important idea for farmers to better understand.”
Treating soil as another farming tool can help put its value into perspective in relation to how it is maintained. Taking measures to improve soil conditions can help it to develop better moisture holding capacity and increase nutrient management. “There’s a lot of microbial ecology interaction with the plant roots that we’re just finding out about and the more you manage the soil as an ecology the better off that ecology can help your plants and maintain your profitability,” Dufour noted.