and Soil Fertility
Earthworm populations of 10 per square foot can add 55 pounds of N (nitrogen),
64 pounds of P (phosphorus), 105 pounds of K (potassium), and 38 pounds
of calcium (CA) yearly, per acre. Earthworm castings have 7 times more
P, 11 times more K and up to 3 times more CA than the soil residue they
consume! That's FREE fertilizer that you can take advantage of by providing
favorable conditions for earthworms.
Research shows that only 10-30% of a crop's requirements come from fertilizer
applications! The rest comes from the soil's ability to feed the crop.
Build a humus rich soil teaming with biological life and your crops
Antibiotic Soil Life
Healthy soil has beneficial microbes that actually protect your crops
from disease. Soil microbes of the various bacillus families, streptomyces,
pencillium, etc., all produce secretions that kill or suppress harmful
fungi, molds, and pathogenic bacteria. Some bacillus produce a substance
called Phytoalexin that not only helps control disease, but nematodes
Crop Residue Recycling
Both conventional tillage and no-till can expect the following results
from a good Fall remediation program. Improved soil tilth, increased
soil oxygen level, better water infiltration and more available nutrients
for the next crop - all adding up to better yields the following year.
Conventional: Applying a residue breakdown product before disking,
insures the highest nutrient return to the soil as quickly as possible.
This is composting at it's best!
Example: A 150 bushel corn residue can return to the soil: 100#N,
37#P, 145#K, 26#Ca, 14#S. This can save on the next seasons fertilizer
No-Till: Applying a Fall residue
breakdown product on no-till soils has huge advantages. Top residue
becomes brittle and break downs easily, this improves springtime planting
conditions and virtually eliminates air seeder hairpinning.
Note: Research and actual field
conditions have proven that the percentage of undecomposed crop residue
remaining in the soil when the next crop is planted relates to the percentage
of disease and insect carry over problems!
USDA Humic Acids Research
According to USDA research conducted in part at the University of Minnesota
and submitted to the International Humic Substances Society Conference
on July 21, 2002:
"Humic substances greatly benefit plant growth. Examples are their
contributions in plant growth enhancement, increasing fertilizer efficiency,
reducing soil compaction." The study, titled: Humic Substances
for Enhancing Plant Growth also found that - "corn and soybeans
particularly have responded to humic acid additions to nutrient solutions.
Plant parameters affected are: root and shoot weight, root initiation,
seedling emergence and growth rhizosphere microbial population, nutrient
uptake and flowering." Additional study findings were that humic
substances are a simple way of supplying trace minerals like iron and
zinc without risk of over-application of nutrients.
Continue to aim for good yields. One year of high yield and high prices
will fix a lot of bad years. Drastically cutting inputs is not the road
to take - it ensures that you will never have a good year.