Organic agriculture and soil health

Photo credit: USDA NRCS South Dakota Photo credit: USDA NRCS South Dakota

A study published in the journal Sustainable Agriculture Research supports previous findings that organic agricultural practices improve soil health by increasing and improving microorganism activity, nutrient availability and soil structure. Organic practices restrict the use of synthetic chemicals for pest control and fertilization, instead using techniques that incorporate organic matter such as manure or compost into soil. These practices help control excess nitrogen and phosphorus, and stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial soil organisms. Because the soil’s overall health is dependent on a combination of biological, chemical, and physical properties such as the presence of microorganisms, nutrient availability, and the size of soil particles soil management must be a holistic process taking into account many variables.