Today we know that healthy soil starts with balanced soil chemistry. We also understand that the traditional NPK approach to soil fertility leaves holes in our bucket that results in decreased yield at the end of the growing season. Balancing the major minerals not only contributes to having the correct physical structure, but also sets the stage for biological activity to thrive.
Balancing soil chemistry contributes to establishing biological diversity in your soil. When you have a functioning soil food web, nutrients are drawn into the soil system that are then stabilized and made more plant available. This guarantees more efficient nutrient uptake which results in nutrients being trans located throughout the plant easier and less being lost to leaching or volatilization.
Soil biology in the forms of bacteria, fungi and algae are consumed by soil life higher in the soil food web like nematodes and micro-arthropods which keep nutrient cycling going through a process called mineralization. This process prevents nutrients from entering waterways and becoming pollutants. Certain bacteria sequester nitrogen and other nutrients that might otherwise enter water systems, they fix nitrogen from the atmosphere in turn making it available to plants. Conservation tillage practices and cover crop diversity are tools to manage and maintain biological diversity. Many organisms enhance soil aggregation and porosity, thus increasing infiltration and reducing runoff. This kind of environment allows for better root penetration and water retention, allowing farmers to withstand environmental stresses.