Soil health and soil quality both play a part in water holding capacity. Growers should support the physical, biological, and chemical properties of soil to improve irrigation water productivity, water storage, and crop productivity. U.S. potato growers who adopted soil health management practices realized yield increases of an average of 49 CWT/acre, with an average ROI of 15:1.
Whether your potato farm is prone to flooding or droughts, growers can activate soil microbes to improve water holding capacity and reduce extreme weather impacts and abiotic stressors.
Soil microbes are microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) in your soil. One tablespoon of soil has the potential to harbor up to a billion bacteria and a million fungi! They improve soil structure, texture, and plant nutrient availability – but only if they’re active. As a survival mechanism, soil microbes will go dormant due to starvation or lack of moisture. Roughly 75% of farm soil microbes are dormant.
To wake them up and receive the benefits of active soil microbes on your potato farm, they must be fed a carbon-rich microbial food. Some types of soil microbial food include microalgae, molasses, and compost. Potato growers should look for a soil microbial food that’s easy to add to their current applications.
Once active, soil microbes help mitigate abiotic stress. Both bacteria and fungi soil microbes support overall soil health and can increase your soil’s water holding capacity. From water management to stress management, supporting your soil microbes is crucial in supporting your potato crop.
Learn about your soil type, soil profile, the total number, diversity, and activity of your soil microbes by working with a trusted advisor. Then, prepare for droughts or excess water by incorporating a soil microbial food, like PhycoTerra®, into your current application practice.
Find out more at phycoterra.com.