Field investigations between 2002 and 2011 identified soil structural degradation to be widespread in SW England with 38% of the 3243 surveyed sites having sufficiently degraded soil structure to produce observable features of enhanced surface-water runoff within the landscape. Soil under arable crops often had high or severe levels of structural degradation. Late-harvested crops such as maize had the most damaged soil where 75% of sites were found to have degraded structure generating enhanced surface-water runoff. Soil erosion in these crops was found at over one in five sites. A tendency for the establishment of winter cereals in late autumn in the South West also often resulted in damaged soil where degraded structure and enhanced surface-water runoff were found in three of every five cereal fields. Remedial actions to improve soil structure are either not being undertaken or are being unsuccessfully used. Brown Sands, Brown Earths and loamy Stagnogley Soils were the most frequently damaged soils. The intensive use of well-drained, high quality sandy and coarse loamy soils has led to soil structural damage resulting in enhanced surface-water runoff from fields that should naturally absorb winter rain. Surface water pollution, localised flooding and reduced winter recharge rates to result from this damage. Chalk and limestone landscapes on the other hand show little evidence of serious soil structural degradation and <20% of fields in these landscapes generate enhanced runoff.
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/sum12068.pdf
Found this book on soil biology which highlights the importance of this soil food web. Excellent microscopy photos here, well worth checking over if you’ve never seen them before or if your thinking about looking at soil under a microscope. It also covers several other things like Seasonal Microbial Activity, Typical Numbers of Soil Organisms in Healthy Ecosystems, Methods for Measuring the Food Web etc. I loved reading this, I’m sure anyone who’s interesting in anything plant/soil related would too.
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/soil-biology.pdf
A good little video showing different aspects that affect how well a soil manages the water that falls on it, will it run off or move down into the soil. Will it have a negative impact with run off and flooding or will it have a positive impact on plants and aquifers.
Altough only an introduction it touches on things such as soil compaction, drainage, leaching, capillary action in unsaturated soils, gravity as the dominant force that moves water downward in saturated soils. The soils texture and structure, platy, prismatic, columnar, granular, and blocky soils. Percolation rates and pore sizes etc
A thorough, free, easy-to-read guide for ecological soil management which includes nutrient management, nutrient cycles, cover crops and other soil-improving practices. “Building Soils for Better Crops is a one-of-a-kind, practical guide to ecological soil management, now expanded and in full color. It provides step-by-step information on soil-improving practices as well as in-depth background—from what soil is to the importance of organic matter. Case studies of farmers from across the country provide inspiring examples of how soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through these techniques. A must-read for farmers, educators and students alike.” LINK: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Building-Soils-for-Better-Crops-3rd-Edition DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/buildingsoilsforbettercrops.pdf
Scientists have discovered that exposure to three widely used herbicides including Monsanto’s Roundup and Kamba causes pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance to medically important antibiotics.
This is a very important scientific discovery. The study shows that the use of herbicides in intensive farming may be one of the reasons that antibiotic resistance has been increasing so rapidly in recent years.
A team of researchers from universities in New Zealand and Mexico have discovered that three herbicides (weed killers) widely used in agriculture and in gardens can make disease causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Their paper, published in the online journal MBio, offers a new perspective on the problem of antibiotic resistance, which may help to explain why it has been increasing so rapidly in recent years.
The three herbicides they looked at were glyphosate, the world’s most widely used pesticide (formulations are sold by Monsanto as ‘Roundup’), dicamba (Kamba), which is proprietary to Monsanto, and 2,4-D, the active ingredient of the notorious ‘agent orange’ herbicide used by the US military to ‘defoliate’ rainforests in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1960s.
These were tested on E. coli and Salmonella bacteria treated with one of five different antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, kanamycin and tetracycline. E.coli cause more infections that any other type of bacteria. Both E.coli and Salmonella can cause serious, even fatal, infections.
In most cases even low levels of the herbicides had the effect of inducing antibiotic resistance before the antibiotics had time to kill the bacteria. In a few antibiotic / herbicide combinations they actually made the bacteria more susceptible to the antibiotic, while in other cases they had no impact.
The danger is on-farm, not in food
I found this a really interesting video showing how bacteria and fungi, along with the rest of those little critters from the soil food web work together to create humus (soil/compost) from just a sand substrate. This captures the process over a one year period in a time-lapse video showing the formation of algae and moss on top of the inoculant and then seeding it to create plants, as the process develops it results in the creation of a soil layer. It also details the process she went through to get to this point and at the end shows us some microscopy sequences of the organisms in this soil food web. There is also another video below which briefly shows a little more details. Seeing this makes me want a microscope even more now.
MORE INFORMATION: https://vimeo.com/117682077
EBOOK (GERMAN): http://www.boku.ac.at/seiten-ohne-oe-zuordnung/humusplattform/humusbuch/
DIRECT VIDEO DOWNLOAD: https://vimeo.com/122856716/download?t=1427851098&v=348742480&s=e938bd1055c8c0714e5b837fefae97e2
In March, 2015, 17 experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; Lyon, France) to assess the carcinogenicity of the organophosphate pesticides tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate (table). These assessments will be published as volume 112 of the IARC Monographs.
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides. It is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications. Its use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crop varieties. Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food. There was limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the USA, Canada and Sweden reported increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustment for other pesticides. The AHS cohort did not show a significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In male CD-1 mice, glyphosate induced a positive trend in the incidence of a rare tumour, renal tubule carcinoma. A second study reported a positive trend for haemangiosarcoma in male mice. Glyphosate increased pancreatic islet-cell adenoma in male rats in two studies. A glyphosate formulation promoted skin tumours in an initiation-promotion study in mice.
Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption. Soil microbes degrade glyphosate to aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA). Blood AMPA detection after poisonings suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans. Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro. One study reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) in residents of several communities after spraying of glyphosate formulations. Bacterial mutagenesis tests were negative. Glyphosate, glyphosate formulations, and AMPA induced oxidative stress in rodents and in vitro. The Working Group classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A).