If you find
Your soil is becoming harder
Seedling establishment rates have dropped
Reed-like weeds grow in areas that are not waterlogged
Plowback can really improve your soil’s Biological fertility.
It does this by boosting Soil organic matter and this usually leads to an increase in Biological activity that then leads to a higher level of stored Complexed nutrients, better soil structure and greater pore spaces to allow more infiltration and soil gas exchange that leads on to a far healthier soil with fewer weeds.
It is also called ploughback — the spelling usually depends on where you live.
Plowback used to be a key part of farming, but today you are more likely to hear plowback used by the people in the stockmarket and the investment industry. There it refers to putting profits back into the business to build it for the future.
And that is what it still means in farming.
It is a key factor in developing Living soil which is the basis of agriculture — green growth comes from increased Biological activity and the resulting Biological fertility. Anything less is dead soil. Plants make soil come alive.
Basically Plowback involves returning organic matter to the soil in various ways such as through:
- Green manures
- Slashed surplus pasture becoming a Return to soil
- Animal manure return
- Leaving Litter on the soil surface to protect the soil and provide nutrients to the soil organisms in the upper areas of the soil. This could be litter from dying leaves and other plant parts that have grown there or it could be litter you have added, such as shredded waste hay that is no longer fit for feeding to livestock.
- any other Nutrient cycling processes
And rather than just feeding the plants with available fertilizer, Plowback is a key part of Fed soil where it fulfills the old saying, Feed the soil, not the plant.
In the good old days the Organic matter was literally plowed back into the soil. Today it is more likely to be left on the surface.