8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil

by Larry Cooper

8 SIMPLE STEPS TO HEALTHY CROP SOIL: A PREVIEW

Of course, you'll need to read this complete article to understand how and why each of these steps is essential for creating healthy crop soil, but here's a preview.

  • Understand that soil is a living system.
  • Measure and document your soil characteristics.
  • Disturb the soil structure as little as possible.
  • Bring plant diversity to the soil.
  • Keep soil covered at all times.
  • Keep living roots in the soil all year round.
  • Build soil organic matter.
  • Have a soil health plan: Review and revise it regularly.

Decline in soil health is one of the most potentially devastating world-wide crises of the 21st century, but the average person who does not farm probably never gives farm soil a second’s thought: The supermarkets are fully stocked—everything must be okay, right?

It’s not. A Reuters news headline from 2014 stated, “Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues.” The article quoted the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as saying that about a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded from chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation, and global warming. It was predicted that in 2050 the amount of agricultural land, in particular, would be only a quarter of the amount available in 1960—yet we will have 2 billion more people to feed.

What can be done about it? Quite a bit, actually; though reversing soil degradation and improving soil health is going to require changes in thinking and changes in some very hard-wired cultural practices. The 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil that we’re about to discuss are culled from a variety of farming philosophies, some as old as time itself. You can find them in modern-era discussions of Regenerative Agriculture, Restoration Agriculture, and Conservation Agriculture, but they also draw from many aspects of “conventional” farming that were in place long before the concept of “conventional” included chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Most important, these steps are modeled on the practices followed by Nature itself in every undisturbed forest floor, unplowed prairie, and pristine mountain meadow.

The very best thing about the 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil is that these practices can be profitably applied with good results by commercial farmers (conventional and organic), hobby farmers, community gardeners, even the “square-foot” backyard gardeners in the middle of a city. And while geography, soil type, and soil history certainly influence how the 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil are implemented, implementing them all (and it has to be all of them) will lead to good results in all soil-based plant-growing situations.

What are the benefits of healthy soil?

Better Yields. Healthy soil produces more abundant crops of higher quality that are less susceptible to pests and diseases, more drought resistant, and better tolerant of wind, heavy rain, hail, heat, and all the other mayhem that keeps farmers up at night.

Economic Return. In addition to better yields, crops will require less chemical input in terms of fertilizers and pesticides. This won’t happen overnight, or even necessarily in the first year or two. But in the long term, growers will find their input expenditures greatly reduced.

A Farm for the Kids. Restoring health to the soil in a sustainable way means that growers will leave their kids a productive, profitable farm that the kids, in turn, can also leave in good shape for the grandkids.

Saved Planet. Though not necessarily our immediate goal, following the 8 Simple Steps to Healthy Crop Soil will increase the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil and lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere, which will help reduce global warming and give our grandkids’ grandkids a decent world in which they can live and prosper.

With these impressive benefits in mind, let’s dig deeper into how to create healthy crop soil.

Download/read the complete White Paper here.

BHN Earns 2019 Biostimulant Industry Impact Award

Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), located in Gilbert, Arizona, is the recipient of the 2019 Biostimulant Industry Impact Award. The award was presented at Biostimulant CommerceCon in Atlantic City, New Jersey, by AgriBusiness Global and its parent company, Meister Media Worldwide. This prestigious annual award is given to the company that a panel has judged to have best leveraged biostimulant product innovation, successfully implemented a distribution strategy, and implemented a change-making marketing and communications campaign. The prize awarded includes an integrated media package valued at $25,000 USD. [Read more…]

BHN Hires Dr. Mojtaba Zaifnejad to Oversee Agricultural Research

Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), has hired Mojtaba Zaifnejad, PhD, to be Senior Director of Field Research and Technical Services. In this position he will oversee the company’s agricultural product-use research and field trials for its Huma Gro® and Fertilgold® Organics soil health, crop nutrition, and crop protection brand lines. He will also provide technical support to the sales team and to company clients. [Read more…]

BHN Launches “The Huma Gro Farmer” Podcast

Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), has launched a new podcast series titled The Huma Gro Farmer. The podcast features episodes on how to “grow healthy”—featuring interviews with industry leaders on specific agriculture-related topics, how to use Huma Gro® products for superior results, and best practices for using product combinations for specific crops (early podcast episodes focused on strawberries).

BHN VP of Marketing Ray Speakman said, “We’re really excited about this podcast series; it’s been a dream for us to have a platform like this where real people can help us tell the Huma Gro® story in interesting ways. Reaction to the initial episodes has been very positive, and we look forward to having a long run with this series. Episode story ideas have been coming in pretty fast, and we encourage people to leave comments and suggestions on the podcast archive page.”

The Huma Gro Farmer can be subscribed to from Apple i-Tunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and other major podcasting platforms. An episodes archive, along with subscription options, can be found on the Huma Gro® Website at https://humagro.com/podcasts/.

Fertilgold® Organics Earns OMRI-Listing for 24 Initial Products

Fertilgold® Organics, a brand of organic fertilizer products from Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN) headquartered in Gilbert, Ariz., has achieved Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listing for 24 initial products. Of these, 18 OMRI-listed liquid crop nutrition products are based on the company’s proprietary nutrient carrier, Micro Carbon Technology®, which carries nutrients to plants more effectively than traditional organic nutrition products.

OMRI-Listed Fertilgold® Organics products currently include:

Fertilgold® Soil (liquid: nitrogen, iron, manganese, zinc)
Fertilgold® N-5.5 (liquid: nitrogen)
Fertilgold® NK (liquid: nitrogen and potassium)
Fertilgold® K-6 (liquid: potassium)
Fertilgold® 3-2-5 (liquid: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium)
Fertilgold® B (liquid: boron)
Fertilgold® Ca (liquid: calcium)
Fertilgold® Co (liquid: cobalt)
Fertilgold® Cu (liquid: copper)
Fertilgold® Fe (liquid: iron)
Fertilgold® Mg (liquid: magnesium)
Fertilgold® Mn (liquid: manganese)
Fertilgold® Mo (liquid: molybdenum)
Fertilgold® MoN (liquid: molybdenum, nitrogen)
Fertilgold® Zn (liquid: zinc)
Fertilgold® Micros I (liquid: a balanced mix of S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn)
Fertilgold® MicroHumic® (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
Fertilgold® Powder (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
Fertilgold® Greens (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
Fertilgold® 1–3 mm (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
Fertilgold® K Hume (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
Fertilgold® 6 mm(-) (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
Fertilgold® Double Play™ (liquid: soil-applied fungicide and nematicide)
Fertilgold® Triple Play™ (liquid: foliar-applied insecticide, miticide, fungicide)

These products are currently available for sale to commercial organic growers in select states (check availability at https://fertilgold.com/shop/), and they will soon be registered and available throughout the United States and in several other countries. Additional products that are currently undergoing review for OMRI listing are in the categories of Soil Fertility, Macronutrients, Liquid Humic and Fulvic Acids, Biopesticides, and Surfactants.

Lyndon Smith, BHN President and CEO, stated, “For years, customers of our bestselling Huma Gro® crop nutrition and protection product line for conventional farming have been asking us to develop a fully organic product line that is also powered by our Micro Carbon Technology®. The folks on our product development team have done an outstanding job with creating the Fertilgold® Organics products, which we think will redefine organic crop nutrition. We are offering a full line of effective products that have been designed to deliver true organic nutrition exactly when, where, and how crops need it. Anyone familiar with the outstanding crop yield and quality results achieved by our Huma Gro® products on the conventional farming side is going to absolutely love what Fertilgold® Organics with Micro Carbon Technology® (for the liquid products) will do for their organic crops.”

More information is available on the Fertilgold® Organics Website (fertilgold.com), which will provide ongoing updates regarding new products, OMRI-Listed status for products, and state registration for each. Blog content will also flow out to followers on Fertilgold® Organics Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

Our Humic Advantage

Humic substances, among the most wondrous products of nature, are the recycled essential residues of life. Plants harvest the sun’s energy and create life from that energy plus the carbon and oxygen they pull out of the air and the minerals they pull out of the soil. When plants die, all of their components are decomposed through the aid of microorganisms and mineralization, then returned to the soil as organic matter. [Read more…]

BHN Welcomes Rich Lamar to the Humic Research Team

Richard Lamar

On May 1, 2019, Dr. Richard Lamar joined Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN) as Senior Director of Humic Research. He brings a tremendous amount of skills, experience, and knowledge of humic substances to BHN.

Dr. Lamar has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Miami, an M.S. in Forestry from Mississippi State University, and a Ph.D. in Forestry from North Carolina State University, with minors in Chemistry, Plant Physiology, and Soils, respectively. He has many years’ experience as a scientist, and 22 years’ research experience in the biosolids and humic industries, including as a Research Director for the EarthFax Development Corporation. Dr. Lamar has collaborated on more than 50 publications and 3 patents for bioremediation methods and methods for quantitation of humic substances.

BHN Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Smith commented, “We are pleased to have Dr. Lamar leading the Humic Research Team for Bio Huma Netics’product lines. Along with extensive experience in soil bioremediation and pollution treatment technologies, he has in-depth knowledge of soil microbiology and an excellent understanding of humic and fulvic chemistry. In addition, Rich displays the professionalism and integrity that we value at BHN. With his background in agricultural and soil sciences, he will be an invaluable addition to our Research Team.”

The Bio Huma Netics crop nutrition and protection lines include more than 15 humic and fulvic acid products for restoring and enhancing soil fertility, and more than 150 products in the categories of macronutrients, micronutrients, soil fertility, growth managers, organic acids, and crop protection—all based on our proprietary Micro Carbon Technology®nutrient carrier that enables growers to accomplish more with less product.

About Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

Founded in 1973, Bio Huma Netics, Inc., (BHN) is a three-generation family- and employee-owned company that is a global leader in providing sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental challenges for conventional agriculture (HUMA GRO®MESA VERDE HUMATES®); organic agriculture (FERTILGOLD®ORGANICS); horticulture, turf & ornamentals (HUMA GRO®TURF); and soil & wastewater remediation (PROBIOTIC SOLUTIONS®) all based on its proprietary Micro Carbon Technology®. Learn more at www.bhn.us.

BHN’s Fertilgold® Organics Earns OMRI-Listing for 21 Products

Fertilgold® Organics, a brand of organic fertilizer products from Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN) headquartered in Gilbert, Ariz., has achieved Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listing for 21 initial products. Of these, 13 OMRI-listed liquid crop nutrition products are based on the company’s proprietary nutrient carrier, Micro Carbon Technology®, which carries nutrients to plants more effectively than traditional organic nutrition products.

OMRI-Listed Fertilgold® Organics products currently include:

  • Fertilgold® N-5.5 (liquid: nitrogen)
  • Fertilgold® NK (liquid: nitrogen and potassium)
  • Fertilgold® K-6 (liquid: potassium)
  • Fertilgold® B (liquid: boron)
  • Fertilgold® Ca (liquid: calcium)
  • Fertilgold® Co (liquid: cobalt)
  • Fertilgold® Cu (liquid: copper)
  • Fertilgold® Fe (liquid: iron)
  • Fertilgold® Mg (liquid: magnesium)
  • Fertilgold® Mn (liquid: manganese)
  • Fertilgold® Mo (liquid: molybdenum)
  • Fertilgold® Zn (liquid: zinc)
  • Fertilgold® Micros I (liquid: a balanced mix of S, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn)
  • Fertilgold® MicroHumic® (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
  • Fertilgold® Powder (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
  • Fertilgold® Greens (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
  • Fertilgold® 1–3 mm (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
  • Fertilgold® K Hume (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
  • Fertilgold® 6 mm(-) (dry: humic/fulvic acid)
  • Fertilgold® Double Play™ (liquid: soil-applied fungicide and nematicide)
  • Fertilgold® Triple Play™ (liquid: foliar-applied insecticide, miticide, fungicide)

These products are currently available for sale to commercial organic growers in select states (check availability at https://fertilgold.com/shop/), and they will soon be registered and available throughout the United States and in several other countries. Additional products that are currently undergoing review for OMRI listing are in the categories of Soil Fertility, Macronutrients, Liquid Humic and Fulvic Acids, Biopesticides, and Surfactants.

Lyndon Smith, BHN President and CEO, stated, “For years, customers of our bestselling Huma Gro® crop nutrition and protection product line for conventional farming have been asking us to develop a fully organic product line that is also powered by our Micro Carbon Technology®. The folks on our product development team have done an outstanding job with creating the Fertilgold® Organics products, which we think will redefine organic crop nutrition. We are offering a full line of effective products that have been designed to deliver true organic nutrition exactly when, where, and how crops need it. Anyone familiar with the outstanding crop yield and quality results achieved by our Huma Gro® products on the conventional farming side is going to absolutely love what Fertilgold® Organics with Micro Carbon Technology® (for the liquid products) will do for their organic crops.”

More information is available on the Fertilgold® Organics Website (fertilgold.com), which will provide ongoing updates regarding new products, OMRI-Listed status for products, and state registration for each. Blog content will also flow out to followers on Fertilgold® Organics Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

BHN Approved to Import Fertilizers to Brazil

Bio Huma Netics, Inc., producer of Huma Gro® and Fertilgold® Organics liquid crop nutrition and protection products, has been granted an unlimited import license to bring fertilizers into Brazil for commercial sale.

Brazil is one of the top 4 agricultural producers in the world, one of the largest agricultural exporters, and one of the largest consumers of fertilizers. BHN has been operating under a limited import license during the past year, which has allowed it to bring in small amounts of product for growers to try in anticipation of future sales.

Justin Smith, Executive Vice President of BHN Sales, said, “This is an incredible opportunity for us, one we’ve been working toward for over 2 years. Brazil’s fertilizer sector is growing rapidly, and they are particularly hungry for technologically advanced fertilizer products such as ours. We have terrific local operations and sales staff in place who are well connected throughout the Brazilian agricultural industry. This is a perfect time to introduce our Huma Gro® line of liquid fertilizers with Micro Carbon Technology®, and it won’t be too long before we also bring in our Fertilgold® Organics product line, as well. We conservatively estimate $4–$5 million in sales the first year, and it could grow much higher.”

BHN currently has 20 Huma Gro® liquid crop nutrition and protection products registered for sale in Brazil and will begin shipping immediately. Registered products are in the categories of Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Growth Managers, Soil Fertility, Organic Acids, and Biopesticides. It is anticipated that more products will be registered in the future. Additional information on Huma Gro® products is available at http://www.humagro.com/.

Sales inquiries for Brazil may be directed to:

Huma Gro Brasil

Rua Independência 3562 – Vila Santo Antônio

São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brasil

CEP: 15.040-400

(0055)17 3234-1012

(0055)17 3234-1538

BHN has been selling agricultural fertilizers in the United States since 1973 and currently sells in 33 countries around the world—including most of the other countries in South America.

 

BHN’s Dr. Abi-Ghanem Selected to Speak at Soil Society Leadership Panel

Dr. Rita Abi-Ghanem, Senior Director of Research & Development at Bio Huma Netics, Inc., has been selected to speak as part of a Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) panel discussion on Leadership at the 2019 International Soils Meeting, “Soils Across Latitudes, on January 8, 2019, in San Diego, California. Dr. Abi-Ghanem will be representing an Industry perspective. Other panelists include Dr. Johannes Bouma, Emeritus Professor of Soil Science, Wageningen University, Netherlands (International); Dr. Alfred Hartemink, Professor of Soil Science and Dept. Chair, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Academia); Dr. Ole Wendroth, SSSA Incoming President-Elect, Professor at University of Kentucky (SSSA); and Dr. David Lindbo, Director of Soil Science Division, United States Department of Agriculture (Government).

The panel discussion will be held at 10:30 a.m. until 12 noon on Tuesday at the Sheraton Hotel, Spinnaker 1. The discussion will be focused on professional leadership skills needed by students, post-docs, and early career members.

Dr. Abi-Ghanem—a native of Lebanon and a Fulbright Scholar who earned her doctorate in Soil Science from Washington State University—was honored earlier this year when she was selected for two 40-Under-40 awards sponsored by The Phoenix Business Journal and jointly by the editors of Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News. She was previously presented with the Association for International Agriculture 2016 Young Professional Award. She has been Senior Director of Research & Development for Bio Huma Netics, Inc., since 2014.

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