Organic rice production improves soil health

Photo credit: Sheikh Izham

A recent study published in the Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science evaluated the impact of organic and conventional management systems on soil health in rice fields growing basmati rice in India. Researchers found that under organic management, soils had improved physical, chemical and biological properties indicative of soil health. For example, organic rice fields had higher levels of soil organic carbon, greater structural stability necessary for roots to access water and oxygen, and more plant available nutrients. The researchers also found that beneficial microorganisms responsible for converting nutrients into the forms necessary for plants to utilize them were more active in organic systems. “Taken together, this study indicates that organic farming practices foster biotic and abiotic interactions in the soil which may facilitate in moving towards a sustainable food future,” the authors concluded.