Soil Microbiology is the Key to Yield

Kelly MarshallAgribusiness, Soil, Water Management

brookside-agra-logoFormerly growers have focused on chemicals for crop health, production and yield.  Then focus shifted to mechanical technology and then biological considerations.  Ben Elliot of Brookside Agra says the trend is set to shift again, this time focusing on understanding soil biology and structure.

“We are learning about a whole new dynamic to agronomy today in growing crops and it is very exciting,” said Elliott, Vice President of the organization. “From my time in the industry, I have seen people absolutely push back on what we talk about, and now we have evidence that microbiology is viable. In reality, biology has more to do with the health, production and yield in your crop than does mechanical or chemical aspects of it.”

Just like the human microbiome contains populations of microorganisms that colonize the gut, mouth, skin and other areas of the body, populations of microorganisms colonize the soil and all things growing within the soil, said Elliott. There are populations of microbial species that exist on and around the plant, but an overwhelming majority of them exist below the soil line.

“We share some of the same relationships in our own bodies with microbes that we need doing work for us in the soil where we grow crops. Those microbial species in the soil are responsible for ensuring that the functioning systems work efficiently and keep it thriving and healthy. Think of the soil as the ‘gut’ of farming.”

Microbes are beneficial to soil health, and thus benefit plants growing in that soil.  “The diseases that occur in your crops are a direct result of the balance of the microbes that are in your soil,” said Elliott. “If we pay attention to the biological structure of our soil, we set ourselves up with a soil environment that can hold more water and nutrients and create a symbiotic exchange of water and nutrients between the plant and the soil.”

The company has developed an all-natural water conservation agent they call H2OExcel.  It works to increase biological activity in the soil and prevent dehydration.  Studies have shown it decreases water usage by 30-50 percent, meaning lower costs to maintain vegetation. Results also point to increased plant strength, reduced crop failure and increased root mass.

“H2OExcel is highly efficient and works to naturally change the polarity of water and soil to keep water available deeper in the soil profile. This results in supercharged biological activity within the soil that paves the way for vital nutrients to reach a growing plant and its root zone,” said Elliott.

For more information about Brookside Agra or H2OExcel, visit