Smart farmers check root systems

Smart farmers are checking root systems

Local Business Feature
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For the past 50 years, intensive agriculture has seen roots as a thing to anchor the plant into the ground, focusing on supplying soluble, plant available forms of major nutrients which over the years have altered the indigenous biota in bulk soil.

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New research shows the root and its exudates are the most important part of the plant.

New research shows the root and its exudates are the most important part of the plant.

For the past 50 years, intensive agriculture has seen roots as a thing to anchor the plant into the ground, focusing on supplying soluble, plant available forms of major nutrients which over the years have altered the indigenous biota in bulk soil.

Research has emerged showing the root and its exudates are the most important part of the plant, playing a critical role on improving soil chemical (mineral), physical (structure) and biological interactions.

Rhonda Daly, co-founder of YLAD Living Soils has long been an advocate for farmers to check to see what is under the ground, whether the roots are 'dreadlock like', 'naked', or J-rooted.

"By observing the root mass, it is possible to ascertain whether root exudates, produced through photosynthetic activity, are dumping carbon into the soil, whereby microbial transformation stabilises these inputs into Humus," Mrs Daly said.

"This information suggests perhaps the living roots should be taking a front seat in management strategies.

"We need to look ahead and discuss how management of the rhizosphere and plant-microbial interactions could be approached with multifunctional, ecological sound agricultural systems of the future.

"For the past 17 years, we have advised customers of how to grow pastures and crops with root systems that not only produce a healthy yield but also improve the physical and microbiological aspects of the soil."

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