Skip to main content

I've been reading up on new ways to access changes in soil concerning the Soil's Biota (the microbes),  who they are and what diversity there is. I've found a bunch of published writings on using phospholipid fatty acid (known as PLFA) as a method of measuring this factor.   Microbial components are expressed as content of phospholipid fatty acid markers specific for each component.   I've attached one article that used this method in measuring the microbial community structure on various sites including one treated with biochar.   Since many of you continue to ask me about biochar this grabbed my attention.  The study found that the site treated with biochar tested out pretty good, so I decided to look at this closer and when I did I found that the amount of biochar used per sq. ft. was 3.5 pounds, 152,460 pounds per acre.   Holly Smolly, can you image using that much TerraPro, how fantastic the results would be? I've attached the paper so you can read it.  I've also attached two images of a Vegetation Analysis using infrared done by our team members in California, Don De Boar and Bob Geyer, showing a clear benefit on almonds using TerraPro at a rate that's a tiny fraction of what biochar was used in the attached study, or the amount of compost that is used by many DOT agency's in doing highway re-vegetation construction.  We have many images using Color Infrared (CIR) Imagery on corn silage, almonds, and pistachio orchards, all showing the same benefit of keeping the plants producing photosynthesis longer into the heat of the day while also keeping the soil and vegetation cooler. We can only imagine what the changes and benefits are to using less water because of this, but we do have reports from some of our growers who have been able to reduce irrigation by large amounts such as 50% or more.
 
Michael Martin Melendrez
Managing Member, Soil Secrets LLC
1850 E. Main St. Suite A2
Los Lunas, NM 87031







Popular posts from this blog

Fertilizers formulated for alkaline soils of the Southwest

Recently I was in an Albuquerque retail nursery where a fertilizer was being sold that stated it was formulated for alkaline soils of the Southwest.  It contained high levels of iron and sulfur, plus the N, P and K major nutrients.  Do any of the readers care to comment on this type of product?    Pros, Cons, etc.  I have my take on it, but I'll entertain what you want to say about it.  Michael Martin Meléndrez

Soil Health: Level 2 - Description of Terms (Carbon Compounds)

The  Labile Carbon  is also known as the 'Rapid Cycling Carbon' and its composed of all the Soil Organic Matter that is dead and actively decomposing.  It's benefit to the soil is that it provides a source for minerals that are being recycled as potential plant nutrients, so in a sense it's Nature's fertilizer.  Active Carbon   also known as Reactive Carbon is more complex than the Labile Carbon in that its composed of all the dead and actively decomposing organic matter plus all the living soil microbial community that will eventually die and begin decomposing.   For example, the hyphae of mycorrhizae only live about 5 to 7 days before they die and start to decompose, while the fungus organism itself may live far longer.  Recalcitrant Carbons   are the Humic substances made up of complex organic chemistry, some of which is inert and some of which is very reactive and are powerful biologics, such as the Humic Acids.  Recalcitrant Humic substances are known in la

Understanding the Importance of Cation Exchange Capacity

I was recently asked to provide a simplified explanation on the importance of Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) values. My Response:  CEC is the ability of a soil to hold onto plant nutrients.   The finer the particle size the higher CEC value, generally speaking. For example sand particles are course and visible to the naked eye, where as clay particles are fine and are not visible to the naked eye. So clay will have a higher CEC value than sand. It is obvious to most of us that sand cannot hold onto water or nutrients as well as a soil with a finer texture. Therefore, soils rich in Clay and Loam size particles are universally recognized as being better for farming - CEC explains this.  The numerical value for CEC represents how much nutrition can be held by a given amount of soil. For example one pound of a clay loam soil with a CEC value of 20 will hold 4 times as many nutrients as a sandy soil with a CEC value of 5. 20/4 = 5 .  It's all about math, for example Nitrogen in