Building and Maintaining Soil Humus
Improvements in the soil’s physical structure facilitate easier tillage, increased water storage capacity, reduced erosion, better formation and harvesting of root crops, and deeper, more prolific plant rhizospheres. Recent research has shown that crops grow more prolific, bigger and with less chemical input if the soil they are grown in has an organic humus component of 2% to 5%.
Humus Benefits to the Soil
Humus Benefits to the Crops
- Increases soil CEC rating and ability to hold nutrients – less leaching
- Feeds and stimulates beneficial soil microbial populations
- Holds water and soil nutrients in the root zone
- Improves the soil structure through microbial aeration
- Solubilizes complex nutrient compounds – releases
- Stimulates chlorophyll production and photosynthesis
- Contains plant growth hormones which increase crop size
- Buffers plants from salts and toxic soil residues
- Increases stress tolerance to drought, weather and insects
- Increases cell membrane permeability
Several factors affect the level of humus that can be maintained in a soil. Among these are humate amendments like BioFlora Humega, moisture, temperature, tillage, nitrogen levels, cropping, and fertilization.
The level of humus present in the soil is a direct function of how much organic material is being produced or added to the soil versus the rate of decomposition. Achieving this balance entails slowing the speed of organic matter decomposition, while increasing the supply of organic materials produced on site and/or added from off site. Adding manure and compost is the most recognized means for improving soil organic matter and humus levels. In their absence, perennial grass is the major cover crop that can regenerate and increase soil humus. Cool-season grasses build soil organic matter faster than warm-season grasses because they are growing much longer during a given year.