A new way of thinking
The importance of soil health can not be overstated. If you want consistently good growth on your farm it is essential that you learn how soil functions.
Firstly – and one of the most basic principles that is overlooked by the fertiliser industry – what goes into your soil is not what is available to your plant. Imagine you where making a cake – if you just poured all the ingredients into a bowl and expected that to result in a perfect cake you may find it doesn’t taste as good as you hoped. This is even more true of soil, the science of soil is a huge topic that cannot really be summed up in one page. But we are going to try!
Soil Organic Matter – You most important asset
If you have never heard the term Soil Organic Matter (SOM) before, now is the time to memorise it. SOM consists of any organic matter that is decomposing in the soil, such as compost, decaying plant material, and animal waste. Once SOM breaks down far enough to resist further decay it is becomes Humus. Humus is able to hold large amounts of water, and this water (called the soil solution) is where almost all nutrients are delivered to the plant. For this article we include Humus in SOM, though you may already know it as ‘Top Soil’.
Probably this is one of the most important areas of consideration, and understandably one of the less talked about areas by the traditional fertiliser companies!
Unless soil pH is in a plant suitable range (typically pH 6.0-7.0) many of the nutrients supplied by the fertiliser become inefficent and/or ineffective.
By keeping the soil pH in the 6.0-7.0 band good plant nutrients are more available and toxic elements like aluminium are less avaliable.