In a recent USDA blog, Spencer Miller states the case for “No-Till November”: Repeated tillage undermines the soil structure and reduces aggregate stability. It breaks down organic matter and drains carbon from the soil.” He quotes Neil Sass, a USDA agronomist, who described the dramatic effect tillage has on soil microbiology as “akin to an earthquake, tornado, and fire happening all at the same time.” And by not inflicting that kind of devastation on the microbiome, “when you have the support of trillions of microbes, you can grow more with less.”
Also, according to Sass, no-till allows the soil to absorb much more water and handle heavy rain, which keeps soil on the field and out of the watershed. He continues, “No-till will save you time and money. You’ll spend less time on your tractor. You’ll use less fuel. You’ll have less wear and tear on your equipment. No-till is a win-win for your soil and for your pocketbook.”
Which is not to say that there is nothing you can do in the fall to help prepare your soil for spring planting and fortify the microbiome. Our Fertil Humus® product, when applied in the fall, can help degrade any crop residue or crop field trash that’s left behind and convert it to humus over the winter. It also stimulates microbial activity, especially mycorrhizal fungi that have a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. These fungi play a key role in freeing nutrients that are tied up in soil organic matter.
Fertil Humus® will buffer the toxicities of left-over pesticides, breaking their hydrocarbon chains to render them ineffective. It will also decrease phosphorus toxicity (e.g., from over-applied chicken manure) that can lead to zinc-manganese tie-up/deficiency. For fall after-harvest field application, we recommend Fertil Humus® at 1–2 quarts/acre (2.5–5.0 liters/hectare) as a broadcast spray or flood or furrow irrigated. This will set up your soil for spring planting with better tilth, microbial activity, and nutrient availability.
For more information on Fertil Humus® click here, or contact a Huma representative. For more about our Huma® plant & soil products, click here.