Why be so concerned with the activity below the soil surface?
Why keep the soil covered with residue?
For every 1% increase in organic matter you gain $750/ acre of crop nutrients for your crops to use. Your soil’s water holding capacity increases by 3.2 times for every 1% O.M. increase. Imagine what this does for the value of your land in the future!
The invisible world of soil microbes beneath your feet are breaking down crop residue into crop income. They are out of sight, but do more for us than we could ever imagine. By trying to maintain permanent soil cover we can keep the soil microbes busy all year. They continue their life cycle and cycle nutrients that become available to our cash crops. If we do tillage we kill many of them and their population has to build back over time. Also if the soil has no growing root mass or no cover and is exposed to harsh heat and drought their numbers also dwindle. This valuable link between soil microbes and soil carbon produced from decaying crop residues cycles nutrients out of the soil in a form that can be used by our cash crops.
By using no-till, cover crops, and permanent soil cover, we strive to make the land continue to be profitable, manage weather extremes, and improve the soil so it is more productive tomorrow than it is today.