No-till soil structure with good aggregation

Mycorrhizal Fungi Innoculation Improves Crop Yields

The University of Zurich reports that inoculating the soil with mycorrhizal fungi can help maintain or even improve yields without the use of additional fertilizers or pesticides. In a large-scale field trial in Switzerland, researchers from the universities of Zurich and Basel, Agroscope, and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture found that plant yield increased by up to 40% when fungi were mixed into the soil before sowing crops. “We discovered that the inoculation functioned best when there were lots of fungal pathogens already in the soil,” says co-first author Stefanie Lutz from Agroscope, the federal center of competence for agricultural research. “The mycorrhizal fungi act as a kind of protective shield against pathogens in the soil that would weaken the plants.” By contrast, mycorrhizal fungi had only a minor effect on fields not already contaminated with pathogens.