This is where the first example of “capitalism” ever occurred. Plants releasing carbohydrates into the soil feed the native bacteria found there. In exchange, bacteria give nutrients such as nitrogen back to the plant. But how efficient is this exchange? Nutrients may not be available in certain soils or may be present in forms that the plants cannot use. Soil properties such as imbalanced pH, compaction, inadequate organic matter, reduced CEC, and lack of healthy soil biology can contribute to poor nutrient acquisition by the plant.

Almost every nutrient needs microbes to alter its form so it can be absorbed by the plant.

The foundation of Best Management Practices for fertilizer efficiency is Right product, Right rate, Right time and Right place. But when growing your crops, have you also given sufficient thought to Right biology?

Microbes interact to perform critical functions needed by plants in the soil. They reduce nutrient leaching, improve nutrient retention and plant uptake, facilitate nutrient cycling, enhance soil structure and increase water retention. The efficiency by which plants acquire nutrients from the soil is a major determinant of crop yield and quality. For instance:

  • Microbes are responsible for 95% of chemical reactions occurring in our soils.
  • Almost every nutrient that’s available to a plant needs microbes to alter its form so it can be absorbed by the plant.
  • Microbes help release and recycle nutrients from the soil, which makes for a healthier plant.
  • Microbes also decompose plant materials and build up soil structure, so roots can grow as deep as the plant requires.

San Joaquin Valley soils are typically very low in organic matter and consequently low in microbial levels. We have taken many soil samples up and down the Valley showing this lack of soil life activity, and hence, diminished plant nutrition availability. Microbial diversity is directly connected to improved plant health.

Having a healthy, biologically active soil does not happen overnight. In fact, it is a journey, not a foot race. Let us help you maximize your crop’s potential by adopting practices that will improve soil health.