Understanding and Managing Soil Biology

Dairy Australia - Fert$mart

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Soil biology serves many functions to sustain plant growth. Find out why soil biology is important; which biota are active in the soil; what regulates soil biology; and how to manage soil biology to support profitable and sustainable dairying.

This webpage is Chapter 5 of the Dairy Australia, Fert$mart programme.

It looks at the fact that dairy systems are generally high input and that all nutrient transformations – be they organic manures or inorganic fertilisers – are mediated by soil biology, any negative impact on soil biology may reduce the efficiency of nutrient and carbon cycles.

Being aware of the needs of soil organisms will allow the farmer to make more informed decisions with regard to protecting and enhancing soil condition.

The key sections include:

  • Soil Organic Matter
  • Components of the soil biological community
  • Why is soil biology important to dairy farmers?
  • What regulates soil biology?
  • Measurement of soil biology
  • Managing soils to improve biology
  • Microbial innoculants and biological amendments

In conclusion, they say that soil life principally needs energy resources, together with the basics of existence – air, water and habitat – to thrive. The ages-old practice of applying organic material to soils is being recognised as vital to improving and maintaining soil condition. The issue for modern dairy farming is to integrate the twin challenges of maintaining production through judicious fertiliser application, and feeding the soil with regular organic inputs.

updated 2017 - Australia - Dairy Australia - Fert$mart
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