How do you get better yields? Feed the soil (Video)

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What makes yield vary from place to place, or even within the same field? Jerry Hatfield of the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment makes the case that soil health is the key to stabilizing and improving yield, and much more. Watch the video below!

The Science of Soil Health

Jerry Hatfield, Laboratory Director of the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment and the Director of the Midwest Climate Hub, gives a talk connecting water retention, soil health, and sustainable management practices with improving yield. Watch the full 40-minute video below or read on for the highlights.

Healthy Soil Highlights​

Don’t have time for a 40 minute video? Here are some key points:

  • In the Midwest, water is the number one factor to influence crop productivity
    • Growers know how erratic rainfall can be, leading to flooding in the spring and drought in the summer
    • Weather trends show spring is getting wetter, and summer rainfall is becoming more variable
  • Soil health is the way to maximize water supply for crops when they need it
    • Healthy soil has more water storage capacity
    • Healthy soil can capture heavy rainfall and give plants water at key times
  • Hatfield identifies the “soil degradation spiral”
    • Poor soil management practices spiral into compaction, water and wind erosion, and a loss of good soil biology
    • This spiral ends in reduced yield and soil productivity
    • See minute 10:00 in the video for Hatfield’s visual
  • There’s also a “soil aggradation climb” to build soil back up
    • The first step is to feed the soil biology, what Hatfield calls “invisible and dynamic processes”
    • Those invisible and dynamic processes lead to tangible, visible outcomes like improved efficiency, yield, and profit
  • Cover crops and other sustainable agricultural practices that improve soil also improve yield
    • Without cover crops, soil temperature can get too hot to sustain soil biology
    • Cover crops feed microorganisms between growing seasons, so soil biology is thriving and ready to support crops when the growing season starts
  • Soil and water management are keys to climate smart agriculture
    • Erosion from 1 acre of land is about 4 tons per year – after 40 years, this adds up to about 160 tons
    • Value of improving soil is at least $75 per acre

Build Your Soil Biology with BiOWiSH® Crop

What’s the best way to get the rich soil biology that supports healthy soil? Hatfield suggests some helpful, sustainable practices like cover cropping.

Another way to build up communities of beneficial microorganisms in your soil is to add some! As Jerry Hatfield points out, good soil biology is the basis of healthy soil. Soil biology initiates the “invisible and dynamic processes” that lead to more tangible successes like improved yield and net profits.

An easy way to build a good community of microbes is to add BiOWiSH® Crop to your fertility program. 

BiOWiSH® Crop Technology is a powerful combination of microbes that attract other plant growth promoting beneficial bacteria, helping the soil to flourish with good biology. When growers power their biology with BiOWiSH®, they produce more.

Want to find out how BiOWiSH® Crop can power your biology? Click the button below to get in touch with one of our agronomists and find out how you can improve your soil!!