One thing that unites all of us is food. Though there may be a diverse range of tastes and diets, we all still need that life sustaining nourishment to survive. This means we are all intrinsically linked and dependent on healthy soils across the globe, for it is from the soil that we can grow our food, and that soil is alive with organisms and organic elements that provide for a healthy and fertile base for plant life.
The 2022 theme for World Soils Day, “Soils: Where food begins”, seeks to promote how important proper soil management is to the health and well being of our ecosystems and human societies. The loss of nutrients in the soil from poor management is a critical degradation which threatens nutrition across the world. However, agricultural practices can go a long way to support soil health and conserve this precious resource, and whether you operate acres of cropland or raise a small vegetable garden, there are steps you can take to protect your soil!
To properly care for your soil, it is important that you know what condition your soil is currently in. Soil testing is a tool to evaluate nutrient imbalances and understand plant growth. Soil testing allows landowners to adjust soil pH to the optimum range (6.0-7.0), which makes nutrients more available for plant growth. Any application of phosphorus or nitrogen fertilizers can be done in a targeted, as-needed basis which then prevents excess of these nutrients from entering our surface and ground waters through over-application and runoff. The organic matter present in soil contributes to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of that soil. Soil structure, water holding capacity, nutrient contributions, biological activity, water and air infiltration rate, and pesticide activity are all properties influenced by organic matter. The more organic matter present, the better water holding capacity, nutrient holding, and more beneficial biological activity that soil will demonstrate. Learn more about soil testing on our website HERE.
One of the best ways to safeguard soil health and conserve the organic matter of the soil is to reduce erosion. Wind and water can carry soil particles away, depositing them elsewhere in the environment where often this sediment itself then becomes a type of pollution. Poor soil structure connected to low organic matter increases this erodibility. Visit our previous blog Shifting Soils to learn more about solutions to erosion!
Have more soils questions? Contact our office to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members about your soil needs!