Author Ellen Vande VisseDownload a PDF Copy of This Article
7 Keys for Developing Wonderful Soil
While maximizing your farm’s carbon sequestration
Sequestration is THE secret for developing highly structured soil.
Paul Schneider, Jr. AG-USA
Adapted from http://www.ag-usa.net/7keys.php
Key 1 – Limit cultivation
When soil is tilled, it disrupts all soil life forms, especially mycorrhizal networks.
Mycorrhizal networks effectively :
Therefore, no-till or minimum tillage works best.
Key 2 – Keep the ground covered
When soil is left bare, soil structure declines because soil aggregates break down. Aggregates are soil particles bound together to create air gaps. Without benefits of these aggregates:
When soil is covered with plants, soil structure improves because soil aggregates can form, thanks to microbes and organic matter.
Utilize cover crops to:
Cover crop varieties with deeper roots help take liquid carbon deeper to improve soil structure.
Key 3 – Diversify
Crop rotation and cover crops both help to diversify the types of microbes in your soil food web.
Key 4 – Avoid chemical applications
Herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides are killers and disrupt soil biology. Every chemical application hinders the development of healthy soil.
Key 5 – Keep grass a good length
How short grass is cut directly affects the depth of the root system of that grass. To stimulate a larger root system, it is best not to cut or graze the grass too short. To help solve this issue with livestock, use rotational grazing, and move cows frequently. Practice high-density, short-duration grazing accompanied by appropriate rest periods. This helps improve soil health by building the soil’s desirable fungal dominance and thus fostering better humus formation.
Key 6 – Create “friendly” soil
Help the soil food web to thrive by: