Agren releases its soil sustainability plan

Crop biotechnology continues to produce higher yields.
Crop biotechnology continues to produce higher yields.

Agricultural consultancy firm Agren has made its three-tier plan for soil sustainability available.

Soil erosion from heavy rainfall does more than wash away topsoil. It can cause textural changes in the soil that can adversely affect its ability to hold water. Weak soils can also take seeds or even plants with them as erosion takes place.

While the National Resource Inventory shows no uptick in the rate of soil erosion, Agren believes this to be a product of the inventory’s reliance on 40-year rainfall averages rather than a year-to-year assessment. Increased erosion caused by climate change has not had time to really alter those long-term assessments, but is impacting farmland nonetheless.

“There are plenty of studies to show that with climate change we are getting more erosive rainfalls,” Agren’s CEO Tom Buman said. “So I think there is this growing awareness that we’re getting some of these big rainstorms and we need to take a look at how they’re impacting our soil health.”

And getting a look at the soil health of a piece of land is the first of the three tiers in Agren’s Sustainability Solution.

The focus of tier one is to start a conversation with farmers and determine the land’s potential for erosion. Some plots of land have a higher potential than others and every acre is unique. It is important to know what the farmers have to work with and what can and cannot be changed before moving to the next step.

The second tier involves running models on the farmer’s land of various approaches to dealing with their state of soil and combating erosion, including but not limited to different approaches to tilling. These models allow farmers to compare approaches and figure out what is best for their individual landscape.

Tier three is developing the custom solution. These range from conservation strategies to designing ponds or waterways to help with flood control.

“So, tier one is just helping people understand where they’re at and what the inherent risks are with their land. Tier two is beginning to talk to them about the practices they could use on their farm to really make a difference. Then tier three is the customized solution, when you’re really getting down to the nuts and bolts on that farmer’s land and helping him really understand what his goals and objectives are and how they’ll impact the sustainability of his farm,” Burman said.

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Agren Inc

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