Health for humans, animals & plants

Humus as the key to soil fertility

| 4 min read

Healthy soil is key to soil fertility and natural "air conditioning". The new brochure "Humus in discussion" and an educational video show the latest state of science and provide practical tips.

Humus as the key to soil fertility - new brochure and film.

Soils are the production basis for food and feed and, in their function as a storage and buffer medium for the environment, an indispensable and irreplaceable resource. Carbon storage in the soil causes CO2 to be bound from the air, which reduces the greenhouse gas effect. However, the focus of agriculture is primarily on soil fertility, which is improved by humus enrichment (e.g. greening of arable land, mulch and direct seeding). Optimal humus content in the soil is a prerequisite for sustainable agricultural production.

Healthy soil is the key to soil fertility and a natural "air conditioner"

The protection of native soils and the preservation of the humus layer are therefore important in terms of security of supply and climate change adaptation in Austria. The Institute for Soil Health and Soil Protection in AGES runs the office of the Advisory Board for Soil Fertility and Soil Protection of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (BML). The advisory services and the environmental measures set to increase soil fertility show demonstrable success in all regions in the form of increased humus contents.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, there has been a positive development in the humus content of domestic arable soils. This success is mainly due to the promotion of measures in the Austrian Program for Environmentally Sound Agriculture (ÖPUL), such as favorable crop rotations, reduced tillage, organic farming, and numerous educational and advisory measures that focus on careful management of the soil as a whole.

Humus film and brochure aim to promote conservation and development of finite resource

In Austria, the use of humus-preserving or humus-increasing methods is being promoted in practice through public funding and private initiatives. But how is humus created? How can humus be stored and what influences its content? In a new educational video and the brochure "Humus in discussion", produced by the advisory board on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BML), experts from the federal and state governments, research institutions and practitioners from the agricultural sector have their say, present plant cultivation measures as a basis for organic and conventional land management and present new scientific findings. Numerous "best practice" examples from farms show successful measures in organic and conventional agriculture.

"Humus in discussion" - Event for farmers, advisors and teachers

At an event on 26 January 2023, AGES soil researchers will present the humus film and the brochure of the advisory board for soil fertility and soil protection. There will be an overview of the results of the projects carried out so far, farmers will report on practical projects and experiences on their own farms. Furthermore, the question is discussed how a humus-preserving or humus-increasing farming method could be successfully anchored in practice. The target groups are advisors, farmers and teachers from agricultural colleges. Participation is free of charge. Detailed information on the event will follow shortly.


| 4 min read

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