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  • Sajda Jaward

Digital Friday>>>New ground as tech aims to help boost soil health

Picture Credit: RNZ Website

The soil is an active eco-system that is more than just dirt. Organic debris is broken down by soil-dwelling microbes, which then feeds plants with nutrients. Worms and insects strengthen soil structure, which increases the soil's capacity to retain water. Farmers used to bury a pair of undergarments in the ground to see how quickly they would rot, to determine the quality of their soil.

According to scientists, more than 50% of the agricultural soil in the globe has already degraded. In India, the alarming statistic of over 30 persons in the farming sector killing themselves every day and it is attributed to a number of issues, including soil deterioration and debt.

According to BBC, a well-known Indian guru by the name of Sadhguru is still in charge of the SaveSoil global movement, which works to promote better soil health on a global scale, in an effort to try to make things better. He continues by saying that, rather than being caused by a single catastrophic event, most soil degradation really occurs over time.

Picture Credit: BBC Website

There are many factors that contribute to soil degradation, including overgrazing, planting only one crop continuously, and overusing weed killers. In order to remove weeds, modern plowing disturbs the soil, but it exposes bacteria beneath the soil that are essential to its health.

As a result of these bacteria being exposed to the sun, the soil becomes less fertile. According to the UK's Soil Association's head of agroforestry and horticulture, we need to reconsider technology's place in agriculture.

Suppliers of agricultural machinery, including John Deere, are now developing "No-till machinery", a farm machinery made to disturb the land as little as possible.

In an effort to give farmers the optimal nutrients for their land, understanding the composition of soil may give rise to entirely new sectors, such as biotech, which focuses on DNA sequencing the bacteria in the soil. Teixobactin, a toxin that may lead to the first new class of antibiotics in 30 years, was found by sifting through soil samples.

SoilHealthDB is a database of measures of soil health gathered from locations all around the world by a team of scientists. Harvest Agri, a UK company, offers a product called a microbiometer soil test. Farmers collect a sample of soil, mix it with a specific solution, and transfer the mixture to paper in a test tube.

Nevertheless, you may improve the health of your crops, pastures, animals, and surroundings by taking care of the soil, in order to support the growth of plants, including nutrient cycling, biological control of plant pests, and control of the water and air supply.

October 28th 2022| 09:30 AM

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