Soil is the natural resource that ultimately sustains all life on land, and unfortunately it is under threat from modern agriculture. However, organic farming practices such as crop rotations, inter-cropping and symbiotic associations are vital to maintaining and improving the soil. Furthermore, cover crops, organic fertilisers, manuring and minimum tillage are organic processes that encourage soil fauna and flora, and therefore soil biodiversity.
These processes also improve soil formation and structure, creating more stable ecosystems and increasing nutrient and energy cycling. As a consequence, the soil retains more water and nutrients, which are then made available to plants and which compensate for the non-use of mineral fertilisers.
Organic farms use renewable resources from the farm itself to balance the loss of nutrients in crops, and if nutrients are added, it is in a form that releases them slowly. In addition, organic farmers reduce the time that soil is exposed to erosion, and by increasing the soil’s humus content, help to bind soil particles together.
Organic farming practices ensure that soil is maintained and improved, hence it becomes more fertile and is less susceptible to erosion and leaching.