Mulch and Soil Biota: the Critical Mix for Healthy Soil
Seymour Spreader 2200 – Spreading mulched material
Soil biota refers to the microorganisms that create nutrients for your crops. They do this by breaking down organic materials into chemicals, which are then absorbed by the plants.
Very fertile soil is the result of highly efficient soil biota, and it’s no overstatement to say that without soil biota your plants simply won’t grow. As a matter of fact, it’s now considered best practice to top up the soil and mulch with soil microorganisms to ensure good soil dynamics.
Your crops will have an existing working population of various kinds of soil biota. When crops are harvested, the soil biota nutrients that your plants have taken up will need to be replaced so your soil biota can replenish those nutrients. This is what mulching is all about.
Why You Need Mulch and Good Soil Biota
Mulching does more than just replenish the soil. It also supports the next generations of soil biota. If no mulch is applied, the soil biota may die off, greatly reducing the ability of the soil to generate the nutrients your crops need; that’s why mulching has been considered best practice for thousands of years.
By breaking up organic materials, soil biota also helps to keep the soil friable and easy to work. If you’ve ever seen severely impacted soil, this is result of poor mulching efforts. The soil biota has had nothing to eat, and the soil has simply compressed into the rock-like state that Australian farmers loathe.
What Makes Good Mulch?
Good mulch is made of a healthy mix of plant materials. You can use any good plants. Grass mulch, for example, can be added to any mulch because it contains a lot of very basic plant materials which will be converted by the soil biota and taken up by your plants.
Mulching is also a simple and affordable way of improving grazing land. Grasslands respond well to mulching and it’s a useful asset for rehabilitating grasslands after fire, drought, floods, and other major events.
The best mulch for crops, however, comes from the remains of the plants after being harvested. These materials contain all the nutrients required by your soil biota to create the chemistry your next crop will need.
When you buy a compost turner, slasher, or flail mower, you’re investing in the future of your soil. Whether you use a spreader or a mulcher to deliver your mulch, you’re already setting up your next crop for a good year when you mulch your land.
The mulching environment also creates a perfect soil biota growing medium. The result is a huge volume of new soil biota, well adapted to your crops and ready to go when you plant your next crops. This is “recycling” in the most productive sense of the word. The more efficient your mulching efforts, the better your crops will grow.
Need the Best Mulching Machinery?
Southern Cross Ag Machinery offers a complete range of slashers, flail mowers, composting and spreading equipment. Give us a call or contact us and talk to our experts about your mulching needs. We’re happy to assist and provide all the equipment, services and support you require.