The Importance of Soil for the Future of Agriculture

No one doubts that the soil in agriculture is one of the main elements, if not the main one, when it comes to producing food. The soil performs 2 basic functions for agriculture.

  • It is the ecological infrastructure of most plants, and almost 100 percent of crops.
  • It continually provides crops with nutrients, water, and the right gaseous environment for root systems.

Soil sustainability will be crucial to the success of agriculture and without healthy soil it will be difficult to achieve this. To do this we need to invest for the long term in our soils, you can call to agri.com.au  for agricultural appointments.

Soil Health in Agriculture

  • Soils with a good structure and low compaction that allows the soil to function in a balanced way.
  • Good levels of organic matter. This means a better reserve of nutrients, increases the cation exchange capacity, forms chelate, provides energy for the activity of microorganisms, increases the heat capacity and reduces thermal oscillations.

Good soil health will have a marked influence on the growth of the roots and therefore also on the aerial part of the plant. It will provide a better feeding of the crop and also a natural barrier against extreme impacts of environmental events such as temperature, excess rain or even a lack of water.

But the soil in agriculture not only plays a fundamental role from an agronomic point of view, it also does so from an environmental point of view. Soil health can help us protect water quality in agricultural ecosystems by reducing the impact of factors such as runoff and leaching. Well-managed soils can help us reduce the risk that phytosanitary products or fertilizers can reach surface or deep waters due to erosion, runoff and, in general, the displacement of soluble or dispersible substances.

Benefits of Applying Technology to Agriculture

Thanks to technological advances, farmers no longer have to apply water, fertilizers and pesticides evenly across entire fields. Instead, they can use the minimum amounts required and target very specific areas, or even treat individual plants differently.

The Benefits Include:

  • Higher crop productivity
  • Reduction of chemical discharges into rivers and groundwater
  • Greater worker safety
  • Decreased use of water, fertilizers and pesticides, which in turn lowers food prices.

If I had to choose, I would say that runoff is the main factor in the degradation of agricultural soils in this part of Europe, and this is where we should work most intensively as a sector. The good news is that this erosion caused by runoff can be reduced by 75% through the implementation of good practices in soil management.

In addition, robotic technologies allow for more reliable monitoring and management of natural resources, such as air and water quality. It also gives producers greater control over the production, processing, distribution and storage of plants and animals, resulting in:

  • Greater efficiency and lower prices
  • Safer growing conditions and safer food
  • Reduction of environmental and ecological impact

Before ending this post, I would like to mention the role that biodiversity also plays in the soil. An aspect that we rarely highlight, and that we must also take care of, the soil in agriculture and its biodiversity because in the soil there are more organisms than we can imagine. Billions of microbes break down plant material, recycle nutrients, and make it available to plants. Although it is also important to know that there are many other organisms that can affect plants such as insects, mollusks, nematodes that have parasitic activity on them. Without a doubt, by promoting soil biodiversity we will have a greater range of organisms that will maintain a balance between them.

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