New Tools for Measuring Soil Health and Water Retention

Soil that has a healthy microbiome is rich in carbon acts like a sponge both for sequestering carbon and for soaking up rainfall. But the role of research is often to validate what humans have known intuitively for a long time.

Today, the Soil Health Institute (SHI) has announced that it has confirmed prior research which found that each increased percentage of organic matter, increased the water holding capacity of soil by 20,000 gallons. SHI has also created some new mathematical models to describe and measure this.

While farmers have known this for a long time, it has been hard for scientists to predict how much extra water farmers can expect when they use regenerative processes.

Dianna Bagnall, a soil research scientist with SHI and lead author of the study said, “Our findings showed an increase in water-holding capacities for non-calcareous soils (those lacking calcium carbonate) resulting from soil organic carbon that was more than double that of earlier studies,” Bagnall said. “This is an exciting development, since it provides a concrete incentive for farmers to adopt more responsible soil management practices that will positively impact their productivity and profitability.”

The press release can be read here: New Soil Health Institute Study Provides Insights into the Role Soil Organic Carbon Can Play in Improving Soil Health and Reducing Drought

The full paper, Carbon-sensitive pedotransfer functions for plant available water, can be found here

If you would like to support RegenAg or soil microbiome biodiversity, please consider contributing a few dollars to SymSoil’s Kickstarter Campaign or donating to RegenIowa (a 501c3 organization) through our home page.

Published by Elizabethp

RegenIowa restores the indigenous soil ecosystem and seeks to convert 1 million acres from conventional, fertilizer based farming to biological farming by 2025, in Iowa. This is done with soil conditioning, minerals and a combination of a broad biodiversity of local fungi, protozoans, bacteria, microscopic insects and other soil life. This microbiome cycles plant nutrients which feeds plants the way nature intended. Mitigating climate change and better food are additional benefits.

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