Black Box of Soil

We recently attended the Great Plains Growers Conference. Don attended an all-day session on bees and I attended an excellent presentation on soil taught by Joel Gruver from Western Illinois University.

He said science is opening the “black box” of soil and beginning to eavesdrop on the conversations taking place among the intelligent life in the soil. The research scientists of BioAg companies and universities are beginning to understand relationships among these underground livestock and how microbes can enhance crop production. The companies are quickly bringing their inoculants to the market.

As stewards of the soil, we must create the conditions for life to flourish. The old timers knew the cultural practices to increase the life-enhancing processes. I am sure you have heard of many of them as well: cover crops, minimal tillage, keeping a living cover on the soil as much as possible, organic amendments that feed the soil are some on the list.

Dr. Gruver’s talk was a validation to me that the paradigm shift of recognizing soil as a living organism has become mainstream. Hopefully, this will help all humanity recognize that all of our food either directly or indirectly comes from the soil and we need to protect it and the underground livestock that make it all work.

As we enter the growing season this spring, I will highlight some of the life enhancing practices that we use, including culturing microbes to inoculate our soil

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