How Healthy is the Soil in a Farm? Check How Active Its Microbes Are

But industrial agriculture is at risk of these microbes. If farmers focus on changing the field crop to the same crop, and kill invisible plants (aka weeds) with chemicals, the microbiome may be less healthy. These practices, traditional farming, and loss of arable land due to city construction have encouraged the loss of arable land. increased FLOODING and drought because of climate change exacerbated the situation, destroys the balance of nutrients and living organisms in the soil with too much or too little water.

This is a big problem, as it can impose a cascade of loss of biodiversity, as well as economic loss for farmers. Approved by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published an assessment of land degradation and restoration in 2018, at least 3.2 billion people are affected by the deteriorating land. Even if it is not confined to one area, the regions of sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia have it the most damage due to industrialization and land degradation.

A member of the nonprofit land health group with no growth in the Plains, Palen is already enthusiastic about these issues. “The earth is a living system,” he said. His group supports avoiding farming, as they say it causes destruction and destruction of the ecosystem within the soil. “I’m not sure one device will measure all the ingredients in healthy soil,” Palen said. But research done by researchers at Washington State University, he said, “could help spot trends.”

Jenny Kao-Kniffin, a professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study, said she saw the promise of soil scientists collaborating with engineers in this way. “A scenario in which this tool can work well is to assess the impact of a soil health management strategy or soil microbial activity, such as considering the impact of a pesticide or fumigant on activity. in biological soil, ”says Kao-Kniffen. “Another example is to examine temporal changes in biological soil activity, with a shift from conventional to organic farming methods.”

That’s the next step the study authors envisioned: Conducting a survey that could give a number of farmers in real time. To do this, they make the device quick and easy to penetrate into the ground. (The current version fits a wall and computer.) Well, they want farmers to get the results in real time on their mobile devices. “The dream is to think about what the electrochemical resistances tell us about the soil, we can provide farmers with equipment to measure it more directly,” Friesen said, allowing them to fix the methods, such as how they use pesticides and chemicals, if the sensor shows that the soil is not fertile.

Even if it could be a few years away, they also hope that their testing will eventually be able to resist other substances, such as organic matter and water content. Beyenal envisioned an entire database of land measurements, taken from many different fields, that could eventually be used to create a “land index,” or a numerical measure that could be told by farmers. -farm what is the health of their land. “We know that soil health is really complicated,” Beyenal said. “That’s our start. We want to provide some simple numbers to help people understand it.”

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