Biostimulants: Soil Microbes- Soil health- Sustainability
Soil Microbes and Biostimulants: Soil biology is often the neglected component of any farming system but it is one of the most important parts for improving soil productivity.
Soil Health: The microorganisms through their direct action or by their interactions, benefit the plant by providing congenial environment for growth which includes:
Nutrient solubilisation and availability
Disease and pest suppression
Improving soil fertility
Building soil structure
Fixing atmospheric nitrogen
Converting organic matter into plant nutrients
Decomposing organic residues
Improving root structures
Breaking down pollutants in the soil
Sustainability: By enabling and fostering a healthy and functional soil biology an ideal environment for crops to flourish is created by improving plants’ natural defences. This will also reduce the need for fungicides, pesticides and insecticides. Furthermore, additional advantages of using biostimulants are
Reduced dependency on fertilisers.
Ready and ample supply of organic matter that is recycled into the soil acts as food for the microbes. This cycle enhances sustainability in the ecosystem.
Bio-friendly biostimulants are an additional source of nutrition, that can increase the microbial diversity, which is an important element in soil health.
Microbial biostimulants enhance the breakdown of organic matter, creating a healthier soil environment where microbes can thrive.
Different methods that can be used to increase microbial diversity in the soil are planting mixed pasture swards, biologically friendly fertilisers or add biomass directly through bio-stimulants or other biological inoculants like Effective microorganisms (EM).
EM will not only add new microbes to the soil population, but will also stimulate the resident microbes. This stimulation can enhance Nitrogen fixing capacity directly by increasing the population of Nitrogen fixing bacteria and/or indirectly by increasing clover growth leading to higher activities of mycorrhiza, fungi and earthworms.
Soil health is essential for plant health. Biostimulants are innovative products that can enhance soil health and can play a key role in building sustainable food production.
Author: Basava Chavadi