Soil Food Web

Regenerative BioAgriculture

What is BioAgriculture?

Soil Microbiology

You are playing Weekend at Bernie's with your soil! If you are applying fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc., it is because your soil is dead and you have to mimic what it can do on its own if it were alive.

A living soil ecosystem cycles all nutrients necessary for plant growth, fights disease and pests, retains water, improves crop quality, holds structure, balances pH, and even prevents weeds! 

With minimum quantifiable biological standards set by Dr. Elaine Ingham, "living soil" isn't just an immeasurable term. In contrast to conventional agricultural soil consisting only of bacteria and sand silt or clay, Utah BioAgriculture works to establish a functional and healthy ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, protozoans such as amoeba and flagellates, and beneficial nematodes - all in specific proportions, quantity, and diversity - known as the Soil Food Web.

Compare the two images below at the same magnification. The soil on the left is dead and is representative of any conventional agricultural soil. The image on the right is living soil, full of microorganisms that perform vital soil functions.

Dead Agricultural Soil
Soil Microbiology

What does the Soil Food Web do?


Nutrient Cycling

Nutrients are mined from sand, silt, and clay particles as well as organic matter by saprophytic bacteria and fungi. Predators, such as protozoa and nematodes, then consume bacteria and fungi and release nutrients in a plant available form for the roots to absorb.

Pest Management

When a plant is fully innoculated with benefical organisms, diseases cannot find the plant - even if they do, beneficial organisms will outcompete, inhibit, or consume the pathogens. As a plant's natural defenses become stronger due to the increased health of the plant, pests will have difficulty eating the plant and will search for easier meals.

Weed Suppression

Different kinds of plants thrive in different conditions. Weeds thrive in dead soil. They are nature's first step to rejuvenating a soil. As a soil is healed, the structure and chemicals in it change, and different kinds of plants will perform better and outcompete weeds. Additionally, the presence of mycorrhizal fungi inhibits the growth of weeds.

Soil Structure & Water Retention

Bacteria and Fungi form micro and macro aggregates in the soil. This helps with aeration, drainage, erosion, water retention, and root penetration.

Carbon Sequestration

Carbon in the atmosphere is absorbed by plants, and released as photosythate through their roots to micro-organisms who use that carbon to grow. As these microbes (especially fungi) grow in number and mass, they store more and more of that carbon.

Crop Quality

Healthier soil means healthier plants and healthier food. A plant can control the microbiome around its roots to gain autonomy over which nutrients it gets, how much, and when. Because it is getting exactly what it needs and when it needs it, the fruit has the amount of nutrients and taste that nature intended.   

Organic Tomatoes
Cows on a meadow

Health of Humans and Livestock

You are what you eat. If you eat food that is covered in chemicals designed to kill, and has very little nutritional value compared to its potential, you will be less healthy than someone who eats nutrient dense food that is chemical-free and innoculated with beneficial micro-organisms for your gut health.

Reduced Costs to Farmers

As the soil food web is established, you will no longer need to buy fertilizer. You will no longer need to use herbicides and pesticides. Water usage will go down. You will not need to till. You will not need to worry about drift and over-spray, and you won't need to add soil amendments such as lime. 

Farmer Taking a Break
Agronomist Farmer

Increased Yields

Though it may not happen the first growing season (although it sometimes does), yields using the biological approach are consistently higher than the conventional approach - sometimes by up to 300%!