The list below gives the five things that the soil needs in order to grow successful crops. All of these things need to come together to form a healthy functional ecosystem that is soil. The most complex and incomprehensible living organism known to man. 

  • Decomposition of organic matter and material gets the movement going for insects and microbes to feed. 
  • The cycling of nutrients. The stuff that feeds the reason we are all here; Plants.
  • Soil Aggregation; to mesh all the particles together to make a functional structure for water, air and nutrients to filter through. 
  • Nutrient Availability. Since this world isn’t perfect, nutrients are not always available in just the right way in order to eat. Kind of like how you won’t eat a burger unless it has a vegetable or condiment on it. That is when humans can jump in to help the ecosystem better regulate nutrients. 
  • Water Dynamics. There is such a thing as too much and too little. Too much and there’s motivation, but no space to function. Too little and there’s no motivation to function.  

Now why do these five things really matter to us, especially as crop farmers. Yield. We want yield of course. Yield pays the bills. So how does a person get these five things right? Where does a person even start? First, throw the book out that has been looked at for so many years of doing the same thing every year and start taking a look at what may need to be improved. You have to start paying attention to EVERY little thing now. Well, at least for a little while. Soil biology takes time to change for the better.   

All of this matters in soil biology most when air and water can get through the soil. Once you get the air and water moving and the microbiology sparked to do their job of converting nutrients to be plant available then we can chase yield and maintain our strategies. These strategies would include a critical look at the inputs on each field and making decisions every year using physical proof or tools to measure progress towards success every year.