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  • Soil is the material found on the surface of the earth that is composed of organic and inorganic material. Soil varies due to its structure and composition. Learn about the different types of soil and soil structures in this video lesson.

  • Food production doesn't have to be a victim of climate change. New research from Michigan State University suggests that crop yields and the global food supply chain can be preserved by harnessing the critical, and often overlooked, partner in food supply -- soil.

  • Large fields, predictable rainfall and favourable temperatures have meant that farmers in Arsi Negele, a town in southeastern Ethiopia, have benefited from good crop yields. Their production of wheat and maize, two of the main food staples in Ethiopia, have also increased over time.

  • I think many farmers who are tilling will admit that tillage can harm soil structure,” says Dr. John Grove, a long-time soil properties researcher at the University of Kentucky. “And farmers who have soils more sensitive to soil structure damage admit this more quickly.

  • Although there is uncertainty about the weather outlook later in the 2018/19 summer season with talks of a possible El Niño, the planting period started on good footing. South Africa has had well-timed rain events so far which have improved soil moisture for early planting in the eastern and central regions .

  • In 2008 and 2009, the Nevado del Huila volcano erupted in southwest Colombia. Not long after, Clarence Cocroft, a soybean, pecan, and black-eyed pea farmer from Mississippi, bought nine hectares of land 120 miles north of the volcano, a plantation near Bogota where several tons of Huila’s ash had reached. Three years later, Cocroft, who is trained in biochemistry, planted coffee trees on the farm. 

  • The Republic of South Africa (SA) and the European Union (EU) engaged in a dialogue on soil information between 10 February 2018 and 23 October 2018. The dialogue was conducted within the SA-EU Strategic Partnership and supported by the SA-EU Dialogue Facility.

  • Soil scientists are researching rice's ability to cost-effectively remove pesticides from runoff water before it flows into rivers, lakes and streams. Tests showed an 85% to 97% efficiency in removing chemicals.

  • Soils support life. And without soils, many of the world’s living organisms will find it difficult to survive and thrive. Besides forests and grasslands, this includes economically important plants like rice, which feeds more than half of the world’s population.

  • Healthy soils are necessary to produce healthy food and achieve sustainable global food security.

  • The world’s first crop of soil-less grown bananas is set to be harvested this week as part of an association between the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Chiquita Brands International.

  • Globally, over $100 billion of inorganic nitrogen fertilisers are applied to crops and pastures every year.

  • The role of soils in producing food and fuel and keeping ecosystems healthy is well understood. Increasingly, however, soils have also caught international attention because of climate change. The links between climate change and soils are quite complex: soils are affected by a changing climate, but they can also help limit how much it changes.

  • Every meal you eat now costs the planet 10 kilos in lost topsoil.

  • It takes a lot to make a room of soil scientists gasp.

    Last month, I presented at the National Soils Conference in Canberra, and asked 400 colleagues a simple question: do you think soil will play as significant a role in food production in 100 years as it does today?

  • These past few days I shared contrasting views on the agricultural conditions between the western and eastern parts of South Africa due to variations in weather conditions. If there is one photo that clearly demonstrates the picture I was trying to paint, it’s this one – see Figure 1 below.

  • The soil is made up of air, water, decayed plant residue, organic matter, and minerals, such as sand, silt, and clay.

  • For the best soil care solution, farmers should look at deploying preventative methods as opposed to a cure. The correct agricultural products and mechanisation implements will enable you to find a solution for sustainable soil care.

  • Sorry to burst your bubbly, prosecco lovers, but skyrocketing demand for the sparkling wine might be sapping northeastern Italy’s vineyards of precious soil — 400 million kilograms of it per year, researchers report in a stud.

    That’s a lot of soil, but not an anomaly. Some newer vineyards in Germany, for example, have higher rates of soil loss, says Jesús Rodrigo Comino, a geographer at the Institute of Geomorphology and Soils in Málaga, Spain, who was not involved in the study. And soil erosion isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can help generate new soils to keep an ecosystem healthy.

    But the amount of erosion from Italy’s high-quality prosecco vineyards is not sustainable, he says. Letting too much earth wash away with rain and irrigation could jeopardize the future of the region’s vineyards, which produce 90 million bottles of high-quality prosecco every year.  

    Concerned that the recent bottle boom was taxing the local environment, a team led by researchers from the University of Padua in Italy calculated the “soil footprint” for high-quality prosecco. It found the industry was responsible for 74 percent of the region’s total soil erosion, by studying 10 years-worth of data for rainfall, land use and soil characteristics, as well as high-resolution topographic maps.

    The team then compared their soil erosion results with average annual prosecco sales to estimate the annual soil footprint per bottle: about 4.4 kilograms, roughly the mass of two Chihuahuas.

    Prosecco vineyards could reduce their soil loss, the scientists say. One solution — leaving grass between vineyard rows — would cut total erosion in half, simulations show. Other strategies could include planting hedges around vineyards or vegetation by rivers and streams to prevent soil from washing away.

    Comino agrees, saying: “Only the application of nature-based solutions will be able to reduce or solve the problem.”

  • Farmers have always cared for the land. They understand, more than anyone, the vital importance of the health of their soil, and the role it plays in producing an abundant harvest and a better planet for all of us. Farmers take their role in maintaining soil health very seriously. Over the past few decades, soil health has been and continues to be transformed.

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