Millions of microorganisms live in one dessert spoon of soil. In colonies, they do something… If it were not for active microorganisms, soil elements and their compounds themselves would not be able to provide benefits.

Imagine a farm fully equipped with machinery, tools and instruments, but… without a farmer, without an agronomist, without people. What will grow on such a farm? So, to use the tools properly, you need people who know what to do, when to do and how to do it to create value. It is the same in the soil: microorganisms performing specific functions are soil farmers, agronomists, mechanisers, each has their own functions and knows what to do and when to do.

Viable soil

Every farmer has heard the combination of these two words. Everyone wants to have a viable soil, because they know that soil viability is directly linked to plants. Now, before we go any further, let’s agree on what is ‘viable soil’? Let’s go back to the million in a teaspoon for a moment: each microorganism has its own specific function and not all of them are necessarily beneficial to the plant.

Fungal pathogens – the microscopic fungi that cause plant diseases (Puccinia spp. – rust, Fusarium spp. – fusariosis, Septoria sp. – septoriosis, Blumeria sp. – powdery mildew, Bipolaris sp. – brown spot, Verticillium sp. – verticillium wilt, Sclerotinia sp. – stem rot, etc.) – are also life! Thus, a viable soil does not in itself mean a functionally efficient or especially a healthy soil.

It is important that the microorganisms that do the right work and do it efficiently take a dominant position in the field at certain stages of growth. For example, there are more than 100 species of microscopic fungi such as Trichoderma spp. that vary in their characteristics and abilities. Bacillus spp. bacteria have more than 400 species with different functional characteristics. A particular strain of a bacterium has a particular function and, incidentally, a bacterium with the same name will not necessarily have the same property – it depends on the climate zone and the soil in which the bacterium developed.

Is your soil viable? Probably yes. But is it functionally viable? If you see signs of disease in the field or if the soil quality parameters are deteriorating, then the answer is probably negative. Why?

Monoculture field

A wheat field, a rape field or a field dedicated to other crops in a given year is called a monoculture field. When one type of plant grows, it becomes dominated by certain types of microorganisms whose life cycle adapts to the plant. Imbalances arise and the diversity of functional microorganisms decreases. In the subsequent growing season, the micro-organisms that are harmful to the plants begin to dominate due to the large area of monoculture crop. Pathogens – microorganisms that cause plant diseases – feed on foreign available food, multiply, but do not give anything in return.

Pathogens exist naturally in the soil, but pathogens must not dominate! A monoculture field lacks diversity of plant species and therefore functional microbial diversity. Pathogens do not have adequate competition and therefore develop with little resistance.

Life in the soil is constantly changing

In winter, when the soil temperature drops below +5 °C, vegetation stops and the population of micro-organisms in the soil, including functional bacteria, decreases. Microscopic pathogenic fungi, such as Fusarium nivale (the causative agent of spring mould), are more resistant to the temperature environment and can grow at temperatures as low as -6 °C.

As soil temperatures rise and plants start to grow, the demand for micro-organisms that are responsible for making nutrients available to plants increases significantly. These microorganisms are needed at that time, but due to the monoculture crop growing in the field the biodiversity of the microorganisms is reduced, so the plants do not feed as well as they should.

Before summer sowing, the population of microorganisms, both of nutritional and anti-pathogenic function, is reduced. At this time, the soil microorganisms have nothing to feed on in the field being prepared for summer crop as no vegetation has taken place throughout the winter. Once the summer crop is sown, the need for functional microorganisms is high and the field is not ready for it.

After harvesting, the soil is covered with a multi-tone layer of plant residues. Although it is a huge source of organic carbon and nutrients, the soil is not dominated by the primary decomposers – microscopic fungi – at that time. They could not have grown beforehand because there was no food. However, pathogenic fungi on plant residues have a mechanism to grow on both living and dead plants and, by feeding on dead organic matter (from plant residues), they increase their population and prepare to meet the future crop. The nutrients are not used efficiently and the pathogens have a lot of nutrients to reproduce.

The microbiological function of the soil can be restored

By adapting to the microbial seasonality of the crop, the population of functional bacteria or fungal decomposers in the soil can be restored and the negative effects of monoculture and seasonality on the crop can be significantly reduced.

When the growing season starts in spring, when plants need available nutrients, the bacterial product Biomass GROW sprayed on the crops will ensure that nutritional bacteria will be present in the root zone until the end of the vegetation. The plant will not suffer from P, K and N deficiencies and will develop evenly. Bioversio’s annual trials since 2016 show that such application of Biomas GROW will generate a 7-9% increase in yield or compensate for a 23% reduction of all fertilisers from your farm’s normal rate in the first season.

With Biomas GROW soil bacteria, the plant will not experience nutrient deficiencies during the growing season

Pre-pathogenic bacteria can protect the root in the soil from disease-causing microscopic fungi

At the beginning of the growing season in summer, as in winter, the Biomas GROW bacteria will proliferate in the root zone, fixing atmospheric nitrogen for the plant and dissolving P and K from insoluble compounds in the soil. The Biomas PROTECT bacteria, which will also multiply in the root zone, will protect the root from pathogens and will lead to healthier plants.  The product is active against a wide range of fungal pathogen genera such as Fusarium, Verticillium, Botrytis, Bipolaris and others.

Soil microbiology is an important category in crop production. If we take care of the soil, it will take care of our crops.

The critical moments are when functional soil micro-organisms need to be added

1. Regeneration of vegetation in spring 2. The beginning of vegetation 3. After harvesting

Product: Biomas GROW Products: Biomas GROW and Biomas PROTECT Product: Biomas ORGANIC