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Briefing paper

Agricultural application of mycorrhizal fungi to increase crop yields, promote soil health and combat climate change

18 Nov 2014

Looks at the practice by a number of farmers in the Great Southern agricultural region of Western Australia of inoculating seed with fungi spores in order to recover degraded soils.


Healthy soil is not only a fundamental necessity for increased food production, but may also be a means of curbing atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG). A significant contributor to soil health is the presence of soil fungi and the highly beneficial relationship that they can establish with host plants. Science has a good understanding of this relationship but, in agricultural systems, it has been often ignored in favour of reliance upon the application of fertilisers. This situation is changing, however, and a number of primary producers are inoculating crop seed with fungi spores to increase yields and improve soil condition. Early observations of plant vigour, crop yield and cost reduction appear positive, but these findings need to be scientifically confirmed. This potential notwithstanding, the most important characteristic of soil fungi may be its capacity to influence GHG-induced climate change.


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