The water that soaks in is what matters

In my last blog, I provoked that soil surface condition determines how much rain water soaks in to your soil. Today, I’ll share a few thoughts on how land managers and food producers can manage the soil surface to achieve much better rain water infiltration.

A study of the photo above, shows a landscape receiving good rain. However, the condition of the soil surface is such that almost all of the water landing on the soil surface will not grow any amount of plant material that can improved the health of this landscape or be harvested for agricultural production. Sadly, this is a big problem.

First we must ask, “ Why is water infiltration such a big deal ” ? Simply put, the dryer the soil, the lower the ability of plants living in that soil, to grow and reach full expression. Soil becomes unproductive because of a lack organic matter. Organic matter is the key ingredient that gives soil both porosity and water holding capacity. The less plant material on and in soil, the drier and poorer soil becomes. An uncovered, lifeless soil, repels water as surely as a teflon coated umbrella.

Secondly we must ask, “ How do I add and keep organic matter on the soil surface “ ? The simple answer is, we must leave a lot of plant matter behind on the soil surface. The not so simple answer is, you must actively manage the harvest of plant material and leave plenty behind to feed and cover the soil, and to maintain life in the soil. Soil without moderate to high levels of organic matter in and on it, cannot produce high levels of soil life that is required for profitable agriculture production.

Next time I’ll share some ideas about actively managing the grass that you have and the harvesting of this plant material so your animals are happy and healthy and so your soil is happy and healthy.

At Landlife Education, we are committed to helping farmers, land managers and food producers get the best return possible out of their resource base, while enjoying life, running a profitable business and being part of a growing, vibrant community. If you would like to chat about any aspect of your business, please contact us for a private, confidential and obligation free discussion. Email: or telephone 0427 199 766.