3 Phases of Soil Health in Arable Farming | Paul-Tech

Arable farms often lack biodiversity by nature. With large-scale fields hosting annual crops each season, the need to replenish missing nutrients in soil has been a generations-long battle. It’s a fight many regions in the world have been losing, with increasing amounts of nutrient-rich top soil washing and blowing away every year. 

Planting, growing and harvesting seasons all affect soil health similarly and require various levels of human intervention in arable fields. Understanding the real-time needs of your soil’s health through each equates to being able to adapt and act efficiently on nutrient and moisture deficits or over-deposits.

Paul-Tech soil stations use two nutrient and moisture-sensing probes, as well as above ground satellite and weather systems, to accurately report soil and moisture data year-round and in real-time. 

This article will discuss factors affecting your soil health before, during and after harvest, and why Paul-Tech soil stations are your best friends in the fight for natural soil health all year long.

Planting: Understanding the beginning of your soil’s health

Before fertilisation takes place, an entire ecosystem is attempting to grow in and around the soil of arable fields. A vast network of mycelium, nutrient-dense biomatter, pockets of air and moisture all contribute to the soil’s overall health and self-sustainability.

In comes the farmer, with an initial pocketbook of choices to make that all bear their own consequences and costs:

  •  Should I plough? When and how?
  • Do I add fertilisers? How much and what?
  • What sort of irrigation am I employing in this portion of my field?
  • What crop am I planting and what are its individual needs?

Beneficial for all modern farmers, hundreds of years of research has been penned, logged and recorded, and spoken down for generations.

What’s missing is immediate data. What matters right here (in the literal sense) and now?

There is a lot of research that can help farmers understand what’s best for farmers when it comes to cultivation of arable land, regardless of the location, weather and crop, as our own research with the University of Leeds shows. This existing data provides a wonderful jumping-off point for the planting season. 

The here and now data your soil needs to be the healthiest and best it can be for your chosen crop goes much deeper than tilling. Paul-Tech soil stations provide real-time nutrient and moisture data year-round, allowing farmers to begin:

  • Providing the optimal nutrients season-long for their crops
  • Save large sums on input costs by reducing input waste
  • Grow stronger crops, larger yields and increase preservation

🌱 Check it out → Uussaari saved 70% on fertiliser costs by reducing waste before sowing began. They discovered that only 40 kg of N fertiliser was needed, instead of the 142 kg they’d been using thanks to Paul-Tech soil stations.

Growing: Knowing your soil’s health as nutrients fluctuate

Seeds in the ground, fertilisation achieved, and the soil is now bursting with visible and fresh life. At this point the adolescent roots of your crops now penetrate the healthy soils of your arable landscape, poking into pockets of air, enveloping themselves in nutrients and moisture, and settling fully into their seasonal home.

As caretaker of these profitable visitors, you’re tasked with understanding the nutrients they can access, enabling them to grow optimally all season long and preserve themselves beyond harvest. This is a task that requires constant attention, but daily soil tests and constant eye-balling isn’t possible (or is at the very least overtly daunting), right?

Paul-Tech soil stations provide real-time data on dozens of factors that affect your soil’s ability to remain healthy for crops. The ability to know these fluctuations of soil nutrition and moisture content, as well as your crops ability to intake these nutrients and moisture without wasting them, is only possible through modern technology –– affordable, accessible and invaluable with Paul-Tech. 

Accessing real-time nutrient and moisture data for your soil allows farmers to:

  • Know when fertilisers and fungicide applications are needed and in what amounts –– eliminating costly waste
  • Understand when plants are suffering from dry zones, or when an excess of moisture isn’t being utilised
  • Discover portions of arable land that are either stronger for plant growth or less optimal by location

🌱 Check it out → Aaspere farmers in Estonia discovered their optimal times for winter barley plant protection, and implemented multiple key strategies during the growing season that netted them €100,000 in increased profits (10% more crops at harvest) with Paul-Tech soil stations.

Harvesting: How your soil’s health looks after reaping profits

Soil health continues long after crops are harvested from it. Growing from the remains of plant matter, existing nutrients from fertilisation, human interaction and choices like cover cropping. 

Prior to the next planting season, the natural ecosystem beneath arable field surfaces is often very much on its own. This doesn’t mean that soil health is in decline, but rather preparing itself for growth, come Spring. It’s often the case that nutrients remain in abundance after harvest, and will be there after Winter ends.

This is the optimal time for farmers to review seasonal information logged by their soil stations and develop new strategies and plans for the upcoming season –– Paul-Tech soil stations provide recommendations and log cloud-based data year-round. While our soils naturally determine their own health pre-cultivation, we aid them in achieving their optimal state through careful planning.

During the off-season months, farmers use Paul-Tech soil stations to:

  • Review dry zones and problematic areas across entire fields to ensure better irrigation ahead of time
  • Implement new strategies for fertiliser and fungicide applications to reduce costs and increase growth
  • Decide the best choices for cover cropping and future crops, come the next season, based on nutrient values, projected weather patterns and other key metrics

🌱 Check it out → Discover how Aru PM farms found a high level of nutrients in their post-harvest soils, and used this existing healthy soil to save €56,000 in input costs by reducing fertiliser applications seasonally with Paul-Tech soil stations.

Soil health isn’t just about nutrition, cultivation and moisture. Your ability to create, maintain and grow healthy soil relies on the ability to understand its needs constantly. 

Optimal soil creates optimal fields, resulting in optimal conditions for the ultimate harvest –– Paul-Tech soil stations make this possible.

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