Soil Carbon Stores Can Promote Plant Growth

Throughout the world, soil resources store a significant carbon load. Relative to the atmosphere, the soil contains more than three times as much carbon, according to a 2012 publication from the United Nations.

Soil carbon may originate from organic or inorganic sources. Bedrock or carbon dioxide formatted as a mineral act as inorganic carbon sources. Developed from decaying organic materials like crop residues, animal waste and roots, soil organic matter is an organic carbon source. By some estimates, soil organic matter contains roughly 50 percent carbon, 40 percent oxygen, 3 percent nitrogen and traces of other nutrients, according to the 2012 publication from the United Nations.

Despite the volume of carbon stored in the soil worldwide, the United Nations report summarizes research that suggests that soil carbon levels have declined. One study quantified that the global carbon supply held in soil and vegetative resources had declined by about 60 percent since the 19th century. Because of the declining soil carbon levels, poorer productivity has been evident in 25 percent of the world’s land during the past 25 years.

Several factors have contributed to weakening soil carbon concentrations. Soil can release carbon into the atmosphere if it has had intensive use. Land management practices may also cause the soil to degrade and lose carbon. Specifically, removing trees, converting land to urban uses, tilling the soil, growing crops that produce minimal residues and failing to address erosion can depress soil carbon levels, according to the United Nations publication.

As a result, practices and products that can maintain or improve soil carbon levels will help to make agriculture as productive as possible. To increase soil carbon levels, producers may choose to practice reduced tillage methods, plant perennial crops on their operations or leave some residual cover in fields. At a particular site, supplementing the soil with organic matter like compost or manure can elevate that particular area’s carbon resources. Another option could involve growing cover crops. Although these efforts can support soil carbon accumulation, increasing those levels can take time, according to the United Nations publication.

This story from Modern Farmer describes carbon farming and factors driving interest in it.

The BigSweetYield cold-processed sweetener from may also supply carbon to the growing environment. In addition to elevating soil carbon levels, BigSweetYield encourages vegetative and root growth, which break down over time and add organic matter to the soil. BigSweetYield applications can also increase Brix levels and improve plant health. Ultimately, applying BigSweetYield can enable growers like you to achieve big yield goals. John Ortiz of discusses more about using BigSweetYield in this video.

If you have questions about soil carbon levels or using BigSweetYield to increase those levels, then contact us anytime.

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