The benefits of Organic Matter

Composting green waste and using it on our arable farm really helps the soil and improves crop production. We can therefore reduce conventional fertiliser use, which is bad for the environment, and currently very costly.

But exactly how does organic matter help our land?

Soil organic matter (OM) is the term used for all living and once-living materials in the soil. It adds to soil fertility and enhances the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil. It is therefore critical to soil health.

Soil OM:

  • Improves soil structure, making it more friable and improving workability/trafficability. Benefits include a greater window for mechanical operations, faster forward speeds, less implement wear, reduced need for subsoiling and greater window for mechanical operations.
  • Improves infiltration, water holding capacity and drainage.
  • Reduces the risk of capping, compaction and erosion.
  • Enhances drought resistance.
  • Adds to cation exchange capacity when well broken down (humus).
  • Contains and supplies nutrients (N,P,S) and adsorbs and stores other nutrients (e.g. K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Zn).
  • Buffers pH during decomposition and stabilisation.
  • Acts as a long-term store for carbon added via the plant-soil system and organic matter applications.
  • Provides a food source for soil biota (life).