ORGANIC MATTER Strong crops depend on high quality soil, and every aspect of soil health depends on Soil Organic Matter, the living, dead, and decomposing organisms underground.

Soil contains more biological diversity than any other habitat on earth (USDA). Macroorganisms, including earthworms, pillbugs, and millipedes, mix the soil and create large pores and channels, improving nutrient distribution and water flow. Animal remains enrich the soil with carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other beneficial nutrients and compounds.

Countless species of microorganisms mediate the soil’s complex food web by decomposing organic material, recycling nutrients, and stimulating plants. Soil microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and archaea, both depend on and support plant growth. Roots and plant litter supply soil organisms with a food source, and in return, the microbes improve nutrient availability, and supply pathogen defenses and growth promoting compounds.

Humus, the nonliving portion of soil organic matter, contributes most of the physical and chemical properties associated with healthy soils. Humus includes plant and animal tissues in different stages of decomposition, as well as plant root exudates and compounds excreted by microorganisms. Humus limits soil compaction, increases water holding capacity, and slowly releases nutrients into soil solution.

With so many products on the market aimed at stimulating soil ecology, it is often difficult to decide which to choose. Tri-Tech Ag advisors work vigilantly to give appropriate recommendations and investigate new products. To learn about the fertilizers and amendments tested by Tri-Tech, visit the R&D section.