Nicole Masters: A lot happens underfoot

What happens beneath your feet can have a huge impact on a farm's production.

Waipukurau-based agroecologist Nicole Masters asked farmers at the Beef + Lamb annual seminar, held at Lincoln University, to spare a thought for life below.

"It may come as a surprise, but the largest limiting factor for farm productivity relies on how well we can support the life of our free underground workforce," she said.

"What we do above ground can have a huge effect on what happens below our feet.

"All soil systems contain biology.

"How much and what kind is the key to success.

"Right now under your feet you could be carrying between one Angus steer in weight per hectare to five Angus bulls, depending on your management practices. That's a considerable difference in biomass and it may mean you may have more stock underground than you do above, and the benefits they pass on are massive."

She said healthy soils had networks of fine fungal threads holding soils together to help reduce soil erosion provide phosphorus and nitrogen, and help plants to access water.

- Hamilton News

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