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Soil for tomorrow

Soil for Tomorrow

Expert insights on improving soil health, controlling nematodes and enhancing the profitability of your harvested crops.

Top Insights

Read our top picks on nematodes and soil health.

Jose Silva

6 Steps to Better Citrus Health

The healthier the soil, the more abundant the fruit yield.

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Nematode under microscope

Nematodes: A Hidden Soil Threat

Lurking under your soil are plant-parasitic nematodes devouring your crop roots.

Identify the threats
Darrin Malone and Logan Roberts

What’s Underfoot? 3 Soil Layers

Understanding the soil supporting your crops is key to a successful future for your farm.

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Elevate Your Soil

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What does healthy soil look like, and how can fruit, vegetable, citrus and other farmers cultivate it? These tips on nematode management can help you elevate harvests today and preserve soil for tomorrow.

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The Soil Health Cycle — Preserve Today, Provide for Tomorrow

Soil holds the secrets to keeping your roots and your crop healthy. To help ensure your soil supports a plentiful harvest year after year, you will benefit from a clear understanding of the actions you can take to keep it a productive resource. 

Dialing Up the Health of Your Soil

Soil is a living and active part of your farm, and it contains a variety of beneficial organisms including nematodes, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, macro- and micro-arthropods.

These organisms respond sensitively to land management practices you implement on your farm, so it’s very important to be selective in how you manage farm inputs such as nematicides. When these products are not selective, they have the potential to disrupt the symbiotic relationships among these organisms and crop roots.

Thankfully, you can proactively implement informed farming practices that have minimal impact on beneficial organisms that exist in the soil.

Rooted in Soil Health — Nematodes

Crops draw nutrients from the soil through their roots. The roots in turn, release food that sustains the beneficial organisms in the soil. This is how the soil food web works.

However, roots are not immune to threats. A variety of factors can destroy roots. One of the least understood threats is harmful or bad nematodes, which are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye but have the power to ravage a crop and cause significant yield loss. Control of harmful nematodes is essential to keeping your crops healthy. 

Beneficial nematodes promote natural fertility and quality over time. They feed on bacteria, fungi, insects, or bad nematodes in the soil, stimulating soil nutrient cycles, and keeping populations of damaging plant pests and diseases at bay.

Therefore, it is crucial to adopt farm management tools that work in harmony with the beneficial nematodes.

Why Should We Care About Soil Health?

A healthy soil is the foundation of crop productivity and sustainability. And every season, we have the opportunity to take actions that help improve soil health, promoting good crop yields and long-term soil sustainability.

How Can We Improve Long-Term Soil Health?

Farmers can take several actions to preserve and promote the health of their soils, including:

  • Minimizing disturbance by adopting practices like no-till or minimum tillage
  • Planting cover crops to preserve moisture and reduce erosion
  • Promoting biodiversity in their soils by minimizing farm inputs or wisely choosing inputs that are less disruptive to the beneficial organisms in the soil
  • And when using nematicides, selecting the ones that conserve beneficials and stop bad nematodes

 

Continuing the Cycle

Healthy soil equals an ecosystem where all life can thrive. It promotes healthy crops and abundant yields for years.

A simple shift from merely managing the soil to proactively advancing soil health and recognizing the greater role it plays in benefiting farmland and the planet can create long-term value. As farmers you can take action today to leave behind a legacy for the future.

 

Doran, John W. and Zeiss, Michael R. (2000). Soil health and sustainability: managing the biotic component of soil quality. Applied Soil Ecology 15, 3-11. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/agronomyfacpub/15/

 

 


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