AcresUSA.com links

Archive | Soil Life

Learn about the importance of soil life to high quality crops, livestock, pastures and land. Soil biology includes microbes, earthworms, dung beetles and myriad more creatures.

Front cover of the book Eco-Farm

Book excerpt: Eco-Farm by Charles Walters – The Soil-Life Connection

Acres U.S.A. founder Charles Walters wrote Eco-Farm: An Acres U.S.A. Primer to be the definitive guide to eco-farming. That includes managing farm and ranch soil fertility, crops, fertilizers, weeds, insects and more while avoiding dangerous chemicals. The excerpt below discusses the importance of maintaining the microorganisms and other lifeforms within the soil by understanding and […]

Permanent agriculture example - corn growing

Principles of Permanent Agriculture

The abundance of the earth is made possible by just a few elements, and the primary ones are free. Car­bon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are everywhere, in air and rain. I have really good news. We know how to grow food without hurting the land, air or water, in a way that is good for […]

healthy soil life and cover crop

Building the Microbial Bridge to Support Nutrient Availability

It’s strange to think that plants have a hard time getting enough nutrients when soils are composed of around 45 percent minerals. Many of those minerals are the nutrients plants need to grow, photosynthesize, flower, pollinate and produce fruit or seeds. Although soil is a huge bank of minerals, most of those minerals are not […]

North Dakota farmer Gabe Brown stands among his crops

Gabe Brown on Ecosystem Stewardship

North Dakota farmer and rancher Gabe Brown stands at the forefront of the regenerative agriculture movement. He is perhaps best known for popularizing the concept of cover crop cocktails as a key strategy for jumpstarting soil health and nourishing soil biology, but that’s only one of his many contributions. To his life work, Brown brings […]

Figure 1: Bacteria (small rod-like structures) and fungi (larger spherical shapes) associated with the surface of a root (rhizoplane) readily use organic substances released by the plant as sources of food and energy for mediating many biochemical processes and to maintain dense communities in the rhizosphere. Note the non-random distribution of bacteria showing concentration of cells on the rhizoplane where several processes take place including nutrient transformation, synthesis of plant growth-regulating compounds and antibiotic production for protection from attack by pathogenic microorganisms. Micrograph presented as 5,000X magnification. Source: R.J. Kremer

Soil Health, Quality & Microbial Diversity

Soil health and soil quality have evolved as important concepts as we continue to expand our understanding of soil as the vital factor for vigorous plant productivity. These concepts have also stressed our awareness that soil is indeed a limited non-renewable resource that requires deliberate stewardship to avoid or minimize its degradation.

A pair of beetles roll away a squirrel pellet at Springs Ranch in Fort Bidwell, California.

How to Establish Dung Beetles in Pastures (and Why You Want to Do This)

I only recently became interested in dung beetles, largely because it has only been recently that we have had any to become interested in. As a rancher, I must create the conditions for dung beetles to thrive, and they will come. The first time I saw dung beetles completely bury a manure pat in a […]