Q48. Measuring the effectiveness (or otherwise) of deep ripping to improve soil microbiology.

Answer: Answer: Any sort of cultivation has an effect on soil microbiology in particular fungal species.
If a piece of land has to be recovered from a poor condition, then an initial ripping may be
the only way to begin the process of improving the soil. This is a once only event. From there
on, the only disturbance should be with something like a yeoman’s plough. Organic matter
can be added in several ways; planting green manure crops or a deep rooted perennial
such as lucerne. Consider pasture cropping so that the mycorrhizal fungal population that
establishes in a perennial system is disturbed as little as possible. It is the mycorrhizal fungi
that help to maintain good soil structure and water holding capacity. Mycorrhizal fungi
produce an exudate called Glomalin that is now known to hold far more carbon than do
the humates. So, in terms of carbon sequestration, maintaining a good population of fungi,
particularly mycorrhizal fungi, in the soil by minimal disturbance, has long term benefits for
plant, soil and environmental health.


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