Practices leading to deeper root systems will help plants reach nutrients beyond that measured by soil tests. Science already shows deeper roots lift livestock productivity.
Firstly, there will be a new interest in soil surfaces. Farmers want soils that absorb water rapidly and release it slowly. That isn’t going to happen with compacted soils and capped surfaces with traditional grazing and cropping practices. Farmers know water is essential to their business but not enough to know what their hourly infiltration rate is. This will change.
New perspectives about roots will emerge; they are not just extractive. Roots pump sugars to feed soil life, starting with bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, these carbon-based substances increase soil organic matter, thereby lifting moisture holding capacity and nutrient levels. Every kilogram of soil carbon holds 4 litres of water, possibly more. Enhancing soil structure will allow rapid drainage of surface water.
Read the entire article by John King, a New Zealand farm consultant specialising in regenerative agriculture, in NZ Farmer here.