Life in the soil is the engine that moves nutrients. Resilient soils are living soils. Plants are at the highest levels of the soils trophic pyramid and depend on the soil food web to survive. Farmers quest to gain security on their harvest drive their attention to soil life.
For nutrient cycling and the crop resilience, soils with biodiversity perform better than soils with domination of one particular “beneficial” specie. Still industry sells inoculates with specific functions. These specific inoculations tend to create imbalances in the soil and difficult the natural nutrient cycling. Resilient healthy soils have great diversity in life in all its forms.
How to assess life in the soil?
In Rockin Soils we strive to provide farmers with quick-cheap-easy methods to assess the soils conditions
Indirectly these are the most common indicators:
- Root density
- Holes and signs of life.
- Diversity in plants potential “hosts” of different forms of life.
Directly here we have a list of indicators to assess macro-live in the soil:
- Macro-life in the soil as birds, moles that feed themselves with worms and insects.
- Earthworms, type and quantity
To assess microscopic-life
- Observation of fungal micelium in the crop rests
- Rice-trap test gives an idea of the diversity of the fungi and bacteria of the soil. (photo)
- Water peroxide test
- Tea bag decomposition rate
- Cow dung decomposition rate
Rockin Soils assists farmers to assess the soil life and to implement measures that enhance it. Rockinsoils helped to adapt the Visual soil assessment for the Netherlands. for more info look at http://mijnbodemconditie.nl/ (sorry, this site is only in Dutch)