Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left), Ausplow R & D Coordinator Dr Margaret Roper and Ausplow trial consultant Dave Seagreen pictured during trial establishment at Ausplow’s Research and Development Centre, Quairading, the site of on-going trials involving the BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Ausplow general manager Chris Farmer (left), Ausplow R & D Coordinator Dr Margaret Roper and Ausplow trial consultant Dave Seagreen pictured during trial establishment at Ausplow’s Research and Development Centre, Quairading, the site of on-going trials involving the BioFurrow crop establishment system.

Classic root 'dreadlocks' are a sign of a healthy plant in healthy soil.

Classic root 'dreadlocks' are a sign of a healthy plant in healthy soil.

Ausplow R & D Coordinator Dr Margaret Roper is a keen supporter of Ausplow’s BioFurrow.
According to Dr Roper, who is a former CSIRO scientist and microbiologist, the key to the BioFurrow™ is soil microbiology - in the presence of moisture – and air.
Dr Roper makes the point that there are between one and two tonnes a hectare of microbes in the top soil with around 70 per cent in the top 10 centimetres, equating to more than 10 billion microbes in a kilogram of soil with literally kilometres of fungal hyphae.
Fungal hyphae spread like a network to capture nutrients and in a highly complex symbiotic relationship, bacteria and fungi provide nutrients to plant roots while accessing food in the form of exudates from the roots.
A classic visual of this process is the ‘dreadlock’ roots you find on healthy plants, the layer of soil plus microbes adhering to roots, known as the rhizosphere.
According to Dr Roper, what science is now showing, through trial research, is a better way to grow crops – by utilizing microbial communities and root systems in the soil.
Plant roots, preserved by no-till, behave as pathways for water infiltration, particularly in water repellent soils, and support large and diverse microbial communities that supply nutrients to plants and contribute to soil health.
Dr Roper said the DBS sowing system also provided significant benefits for a developing seedling.
“Firstly, the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provides a source of water vapour for seed germination,” Dr Roper said.
“The ‘precision seed bed’, created by the DBS closing tool to provide a firm and aerated base for the seed, contains fine capillaries through which water vapour (from the liquid nutrients) can rise to the seed and promote germination.
“Scientific research also has presented evidence that water vapour is the primary source of water for seed germination in unsaturated soils.
“This surprising result stems from the fact that although hydraulic conductivity decreases by several orders of magnitude as soil water content decreases, relative humidity within the soil remains near 100 per cent, as long as the soil water content is above wilting point.”
Dr Roper also said the provision of liquid nutrients directly below the seed provided an immediate source of nutrients in available forms in close proximity to newly emerged roots.
“And the soft-closing press wheel of the DBS covers the seed, creating a firm but not compacted indented surface which collects water and enables air exchange around the germinating seed,” Dr Roper said.

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Friday, December 11, 2020