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Soil Health: How to Benefit from More Diversity

By Marlon Winger
Brendon and Sheldon Rockey of Center, Colorado, grow and market specialty potatoes and specialty seed potatoes. They are regenerating the soil ecosystem while using fewer chemical and synthetic fertilizer inputs.
How do they do this in an apparent monoculture? Brendon Rockey says, “Without diversity, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
They learned that they could reduce production costs while maintaining yield and increasing quality by:

Steadily increasing biological diversity through different strategies like

  • Diverse cover cropping
  • Minimizing soil disturbance
  • Integrating livestock
Implementing other soil health practices like
  • Cutting their inputs
  • Using a probiotic approach
  • Managing pests without pesticides
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