JustinM

Justin Morris
During the Soil for Water premiere last month, the following question was asked:

Can you share data such as SOM levels, biological activity improvements and water storage capacity over time?

Here is my response: Attached is an article from Anna Cates, Soil Health Specialist for the University of Minnesota that ties SOM levels to soil water. According to Anna, the Available Water Capacity (AWC) of a silt loam soil increases by nearly 3,400 gallons per acre in the top 12 inches for every 1 percent increase in SOM. Also, as a general rule, soil health-oriented farmers using no-till combined with cover crops have shown that they can increase SOM levels by up to 0.2 percent per year. This translates into a 1 percent increase every 5 years. As far as biological activity improvements over time, I don't have any readily accessible data that I can share, but from what I've observed for degraded soil ecosystems, biological activity improves slowly in the first three years depending on environmental conditions, soil type and the management aggressiveness of the farmer/rancher. Then by years 3 through 5, biological activity usually increases quite rapidly depending on the environment you're in. Regenerative farmers and ranchers who've been using soil health improving practices for a couple of decades are still seeing improvements even after all this time. This is why soil health is a journey, not a destination.
 

Attachments

  • The Connection Between Soil Organic Matter and Soil Water.pdf
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