Microbiologists clarify relationship between microbial diversity and soil carbon storage

Microbiologists clarify relationship between microbial diversity and soil carbon storage
In what they believe is the first study of its kind, researchers led by postdoctoral researcher Luiz A. Domeignoz-Horta and senior author Kristen DeAngelis at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report that shifts in the diversity of soil microbial communities can change the soil's ability to sequester carbon, where it usually helps to regulate climate.
Introduction to Ruminant Nutrition

A biological pasture trial undertaken at Maleny Dairies in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast shows exciting results for dairy farmers. A multi-species pasture was sown containing a unique variety of seeds including cereals, legumes, grasses and brassicas. Traditional chemicals were put aside, and a biological fertiliser was sprayed across the 3.2-hectare irrigated block. 


Despite being heavily sceptical of the trial initially, Maleny Dairies farmer Keith Hopper experienced a considerable decrease in feed costs alongside increased production by one to two litres of milk per cow a day. 

Biological farming consultant John Moore said dairy farmers are focussing too heavily on the things they have no control over, particularly farm gate milk price. 

“The processors will pay what the processors will pay,” Mr Moore said, “all we can do as farmers is drop the cost of production.” 

By reducing water and fertiliser cost through the adoption of regenerative farming techniques, Mr Moore believes dairy profits could be increased by $100,000 a year. 

Global Boss International CEO Danny Hood explains that his biological fertiliser is composed of composted chicken manure, microbes and bacteria. 

"Once you get your soil biology happening, you've got a far greater water retention and then you've also got less of your nitrates coming out of your soils," Said Mr Hood.

Government funding is currently being sought to continue the trials into different farms, encouraging more agriculture businesses to begin to look towards regenerative, chemical-free methods of farming that work to boost profit while benefitting the environment.

 Soil Health
 Landscape Health
#regenerative agriculture

A version of this article was originally published on the site Phys.org on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.


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Introduction to Ruminant Nutrition