Are you aware of how important what is happening under the ground is to promote healthy grass growth?

During autumn, after the dry of summer, there should be an explosion of activity in bacteria and fungi.

This is due to two things; higher soil moisture levels which stimulates better grass growth. Thicker, longer grass sward = more photosynthesis = more sugar exudate for the precious microbes.

This being said the root depth should also increase significantly which will set your crop up nicely for the coming spring.

Conventional irrigated pasture showing grass growth

Taken in autumn on conventionally irrigated pasture, grass root depth is only about 9-10cm.

Improved grass growth

Roots from the same paddock showing growth after 9 months, roots have now doubled in depth to 20cm.

This first photo illustrates the point well.

Taken in autumn on conventionally managed irrigated dairy pasture you will note the roots depth is only about 9 too 10cm.

When Soil Foodweb NZ tested this soil for bacteria and fungi we found the fungal biomass was very low and hardly active. The fungal component was being totally out-competed by the bacteria. This in turn created a collapsed soil profile which lead to anaerobic conditions and nutrient loss.

If no changes had been made the outlook would have been bleak for the following spring.

Fortunately this farmer realised the importance of a balanced biologically active soil. The roots from the same paddock in the second photo show just how much the roots have grown. In 9 months they have doubled in depth, now down to 20cm. The soil has ‘opened’ up and anaerobic conditions are all but gone.

The nutrient cyclers; worms and protozoa had plenty to eat and a good environment in which to flourish. The conditions to ensure the biological life would thrive were all there: Water, food, home and comfort.

So what did this farmer do to set the soil environment for success?
He got his soil tested for starters – he realised he needed to know what was there and what wasn’t. He then applied biological inoculums with foods. In this instance he applied it through his pivot.

As you can see by this result the effort paid off in spades.