A veritable eco-system of micro-flora and fauna live in below the surface of your soil. They carry on everyday tasks such as; acting as solar collectors, recycling waste nutrients into viable sources of energy, cleaning the soil of toxic residue, mining the soil for scarce or desirable nutrients in order to exchange with the plant life above, and improving the aggregation, water-holding capacity, and gas exchange within your soil profile.
And, they can go on about their lives, undisturbed, in a perfect natural balance with the life above the surface of the soil without a need for our intervention.
The problems start when we begin to manipulate our environment, often for the purpose of commercial agriculture. Activities that take place on the surface of the soil, such as spraying for weeds, fungicidal applications, rolling heavy agricultural equipment over our fields, and depleting the soils of naturally occurring elements through continued crop removal have the effect of setting up an inhospitable environment for the microbial life in our soil.
For soils which have been severely depleted of micro-life, the plants above ground suffer as well. The soils degrade and reduce the gas exchange necessary for appropriate root growth, water, and nutrient uptake. Microbes utilized by the plants to solublize phosphorus and seek out difficult to find micro nutrients int he soil are diminished and plants suffer.
For growers who have diminished the vibrancy of their soil microbiology, they have several options.
Growers can look to include manures, composts and compost teas in order to inoculate the soils with some of the biology that has been diminished through commercial farming activities.
Big time operators who have too many acres to make spreading compost feasible, actively aerated compost teas or bug in a jug like the Genesis Ag microbial fertilizer revita-N can give the soil a kick-start and bring it back to a more native state.
Farmers can also contemplate changing some of their practices, like limiting heavy equipment to certain tracks over the field, reducing the amount of tillage that they do on their fields, and reducing traffic when fields are wet or subject to compaction.