Farmers, the stewards of the land, want fertility of the soil to remain for future generations. Their search for soil health has created a movement called biological farming based on a relatively new, scientific understanding of the biology with which nature feeds plants. A century ago, our insights into how plants are fed in nature was rudimentary and focused on the chemistry.
Today, scientist know the chemistry was an outgrowth of the soil biology, a complex ecosystem involving thousands of species which, together, cycle nutrients – making them available to plants.
Chemical fertilizers disrupt this ecosystem. Using chemical fertilizers exclusively is akin to feeding children only sugar – initially, they have a burst of energy. But when children eat only sugar, they become hyperactive. Longer-term, without proteins, fats, vitamins and complex carbohydrates, children have poor health.
Plants also need complexity in their nutrition. Chemical fertilizers give plants a quick boost, while starving the microbes which provide the full pallet of nutrients vegetation needs. Most fertilizers are salt-based, so they leave behind residues (or it runs off into waterways). Additionally, other agrichemicals (pesticides) are designed to kill parts of the ecosystem.
Learn more about soil health, the soil microbial ecosystem by Googling “Soil Food Web” or clicking here to get SymSoil’s perspective: