Say it with me now, my–co-rhyz-ah.
So what is it? Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) is beneficial fungi that lives in the soil and naturally provides phosphorus and other nutrients like zinc and copper to cash crops, reducing the need for expensive fertilizer inputs. AMF allows plant roots to explore 1,000 times more soil volume than when there are no AMF present, providing access to additional water and nutrients, allowing crops to resist drought and pests.
AMF depends on living plants, so by planting cover crops in the fall, numbers can be increased greatly compared to fallow soil as shown by this study from Michael Lehman with the USDA-North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, funded by the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council as we look for ways to improve grower profitability and sustainability.
AMF is yet another soil health benefit to an already numerous list that comes from planting cover crops including protection from erosion, increases in organic matter, nutrient retention, additional microbial activity and water storage capacity.
Increasing the activity of native soil microorganisms takes time and the use of multiple tactics that foster soil biological processes. Other practices that tend to increase the contributions of soil microorganisms include no-till, conservation tillage, diversified rotations, lowered nutrient inputs, and organic forms of fertilizer. When using these practices, the benefits of soil biology accumulate and are realized by crops in future years, with less emphasis on the annual cycle. – iGrow
Click on the link below to learn more about Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi.