January 26, 2021

Soil Health: We Can Do More

One of the greatest challenges we face in the world today is being responsible stewards of our natural resources – our air, water and soil – while at the same time producing the food needed for a growing global population. While we’ve made great strides to protect and improve our air and water, we can do more to protect the earth beneath our feet.  

Soil is one of the most important natural resources we have and farmers, as the original stewards of the land, are continually striving to improve the practices they use to protect it. But the reality is, until now, it’s been difficult to truly understand the soil.  

 

Investing in soil for a new balance  

All crops need healthy, living soil with low levels of disease-causing organisms and optimal levels of nutrients and beneficial microbes to thrive.      

The key is a holistic soil health management approach that combines both synthetic and biological solutions essential for maintaining production and quality benchmarks for food, fiber and fuel. By investing in our soil in this way we can we find the right balance of:  

  • Productivity today and longevity for the future 
  • Ensuring farm profitability, farmer livelihoods and nutrient-rich food for those they feed 
  • Food for our world and an effective carbon sink to combat climate change (absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) 

This balance requires continued investment in new science, technologies and collaborations to develop true soil intelligence, allowing us to better understand what makes soil healthy so we can improve the soil to produce food in the most sustainable way – and combat the dual threats of climate change and food scarcity.  

 

Innovation for our soil, our foodour planet   

We’re proud to be on the forefront of innovation in the science and interpretation of soil.  

To understand soil at scale, the Trace Genomics Soil Intelligence Engine™ uses genomics technology originally developed for human health to read the soil’s biological content – in other words, its DNA. We then measure chemistry and physical properties of soil to create comprehensive soil datasets.   

Advancements in machine learning, when applied to these soil datasets, can help us identify which soil properties and farming practices create productive soil to support healthy crops, ensure farmer livelihoods and preserve and enrich the soil    

With this knowledge, we can accelerate new breakthroughs in our understanding of soil to discover the next generation of earth-smart agricultural tools and inputs.  

When growers know what’s truly going on underground, they can cultivate and sustain the soil to both reduce the impact on our precious natural resources, and produce a nutritious, abundant food supply for people around the world.       

 

Poornima Parameswaran, Ph.D. 

Trace Genomics Co-Founder  

Vice President of Science, Technology and Innovation