A note from our CEO Brian Maxted, on National Soil Health Day:

(June 23, 2021) — Today is a great opportunity to recognize the importance of our soils and identify ways to remediate the changes we’ve made to our ground, the lack of organic matter for our crops, and the need to make serious changes to the way we manage the soil profile.

Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. manage nearly 900 million acres of soil, and we have a great opportunity beneath our boots to improve soil management practices, enhance crop health, sequester carbon and advance our ground for future seasons and generations.

We need to take a closer look at the issues affecting soil health here in California agriculture and beyond, and what the next frontier of soil conservation and agricultural innovation could look like.

And it needs to be an open and ongoing dialogue between growers, ranchers, input companies, technologists, consumers and policy makers, one that goes well beyond National Soil Health Day.

How can we improve?

There are many ways we can improve the structural characteristics, chemical properties and biological activity of our soils:

  • Leverage soil science, taking regular soil, water and tissue samples, and use that field and sensor data to monitor conditions.
  • Consult with agronomists, alongside CCAs and PCAs, to ensure the right recommendations for overall soil and crop health are being made when it comes to specific irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide and other applications.
  • Use cover crops and other regenerative farming practices can be a cost-effective alternative to pouring on soil-disrupting chemicals.
  • Apply compost to replace crucial organic matter in a net positive way.
  • Spread gypsum to help soil structure, leach away Sodium and Chlorides, and add Calcium (critical to plant cell walls).
  • Adjust the pH of the soil with lime or sulfur to optimize conditions, free up and make nutrients available for crop uptake.
  • Precision deep rip redevelopments to ensure an optimal rootzone for permanent crop plantings.
  • Sequester Carbon in our soil, to balance our Nitrogen/Carbon ratios, and help become a solution to climate and other resource challenges.

Technology and precision ag practices continue to evolve at a rapid pace in agriculture, but without a paradigm shift in the way we manage our soils, feeding close to 10 billion people by 2050 will be a daunting task.

And while we understand the demands of our growers and producers have never been greater, the solution to improving soil health isn’t overly complicated or extremely expensive.

It’s as simple as putting our soils first, which in return will bring about healthier crops and drive down our dependence on costly and sometimes harmful synthetic inputs.

Thanks to everyone who helps our industry put our soils first!

Learn more about Holloway’s sustainable, soil-first solutions at www.hollowayag.com

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