World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December fifth to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) this year’s campaign promotes the need to halt salinization and boost soil productivity.
We know the importance of healthy soil; without it our seeds can’t reach their full potential to help feed and decarbonize our planet. For Nuseed, and the entire agriculture industry, everyday needs to be a day focused on how we can best improve the quality of our soil and protect it.
Across our Nuseed teams in Australia, Europe, North and South America we are studying improvements in drought and saline tolerance and our agronomists work with farm customers to adopt soil conservation practices to improve and protect this critical resource.
Sunflowers – Grown in each of our four Nuseed regions, sunflowers aren’t only beautiful, to balance their height they extend their roots farther than shorter crops and work hard to de-compact soil and reach unused moisture and nutrients leaving behind root residue channels that provide drainage and rooting paths for future cropping. After harvest the remaining crop stalks effectively capture snowfall in northern regions to retain moisture in the field. Learn more about their potential to grow in saline soil from the National Sunflower Association.
Canola – Canola is grown in Australia, North and South America and its post-harvest crop stubble also retains moisture in the fields throughout the winter in Northern United States and Canada. The increase of canola acres typically correlated with an increase in direct seeding often called no-till planting, which helps conserve seedbed moisture for better canola emergence, plus protect against soil erosion and carbon losses common with tillage prior to planting; a practice that has substantially decreased much to the benefit of soil health.
Sorghum – The potential of using sorghum for soil reclamation is being studied, however its ability to thrive on one third less moisture than corn is well known. Sorghum is an ancient grain Nuseed and subsidiary Richardson Seeds International (RSI) are improving to provide modern day drought and saline tolerance as well as early maturity hybrids to expand the zones the crop can be grown. Besides smothering weeds, sorghum adds organic matter to soil and can help penetrate compacted soil for improved soil productivity.
Carinata – The Nuseed Carinata program is intensely focused on improving soil health, a critical requirement for RSB certification. The crop’s massive above ground biomass removes atmospheric carbon to restore soil carbon through its extensive root system. Nuseed Carinata is a certified sustainable non-food cover crop, grown between main crops to protect the soil right from after harvest until spring planting of main crops. Because the contract crop is grown specifically for value added certified low-carbon fuel feedstock, Nuseed is able to incentivize growers to adopt RSB certified sustainable farming practices.