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What is soil organic matter?

"Soil organic matter is a substance and a process. It's a mixture of materials, plant and animal remains and products of decay processes that have been going on for months or years." -F.E. Broadbent

The biggest difference between soil and rock is the presence of organic matter and the associated biological activity that takes place in the former. Soil organic matter is at the heart of healthy and productive soils. Although organic matter typically makes up a small percentage of most mineral soils (less than 10% by weight), it is very important because it positively influences or modifies the effects of almost all soil properties.

Understanding the role of organic matter in maintaining healthy soil is essential to ensure a high level of productivity and to minimise the negative environmental impacts of farming activities.

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