Using EM to Improve Soil Health and Performance

EM works by getting the natural processes to function, the way nature intended by stimulating biological activity in the soil. Using EM will improve soil health and yields and enhance fertiliser performance. 

EM will not only add to the microbial population, but will also stimulate resident microbes. This stimulation can lead to increasing the resident nitrogen fixation capacity directly through the increase of N fixing bacteria, and indirectly by increasing clover growth, increasing mycorrhizal activity and other fungal and earthworm activity. 

EM will enhance growth and improve soil health through:

  • Enhancing fertiliser inputs
  • Fixing atmospheric nitrogen
  • Converting organic matter to plant nutrients
  • Decomposing organic residues
  • Recycling soil nutrients
  • Breaking down fertiliser compounds
  • Improving root structures
  • Breaking down pollutants in the soil
  • Increasing earthworm numbers
  • Reducing compaction issues

Improved Organic Matter Breakdown

EM will help the decomposition process of organic materials, and during fermentation will produce normally unavailable organic acids, such as lactic acid, acetic acid, amino acid, malic acid and bioactive substances and vitamins. A key ingredient in this process is organic matter which is supplied by pasture residuals, (dead matter) recycling crop residues, green manures and animal manure. In addition, this process leads to increased humus in the soil enhancing fertility and soil health. Earthworm numbers will also increase with the use of EM to further aid soil health and performance. 

Enhancing fertiliser inputs

The microbes in EM® will solubilise compounds both organic and inorganic that are largely unavailable to plants and make them available for uptake by the plants root system allowing the plant to put more energy into growth. In performing this important function the Microbes create a more efficient use of added nutrients, generating a better growth response from fertiliser inputs. Also, our research has demonstrated the ability to lower fertiliser use while still gaining the same yield. Research has shown the microbes in EM® stimulate Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma further enhancing nutrient uptake and the plants root system. EM® works effectively with most fertiliser and can be sprayed on with most pesticides and herbicides decreasing your application costs.

Improving Yields

EM works firstly through effective organic matter recycling which builds humus, the food for your soil and plants. It will also enhance fertiliser and nutrient breakdown in the soil and uptake by plants, will give improvements in nitrogen fixation and stimulate micorrhyzal activity. 

This has two main functions, firstly it creates better growing conditions and this leads to a stronger healthier plant. Secondly it provides competitive exclusion, which means that it out-competes pathogens for space, by inoculating the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes. The cumulative effect of all of these functions is a higher yielding crop. 

The graphs on the right show the impact EM can have on yield. 

Building Soil Humus

EM efficiently breaks down organic matter into stable humus, a key component to aggregate formation, by reducing oxidative forces that primarily rob the soil of Carbon and Nitrogen in the form of methane and ammonium gases, respectively. This is achieved from a reduction of available Hydrogen ions due to a favourable change of organic acid composition and concentration in the soil. The result is that a greater amount of organic matter is converted to humus, aiding in aggregate formation.

Improved Root Structure

This was shows the difference between a paddock of clover treated with EM and one without. The main differences and the improved root structure and many nodules on the treated paddock. There was also a much better breakdown of organic matter in the soil.

EM's Impact on Soil Compaction 

EM will support the growth of other beneficial organisms like mychorrizae, worms, and insects already in your soil, bringing nature back into balance. 
It will also produce lots of polysaccharides - glues that hold the soil together and hold in moisture, improving drought resistance.
A healthy soil and stimulated biological activity help build stable aggregate and soil structure. Increase aggregate stability prevents the pore spaces between the aggregates from collapsing during heavy, saturating rains and reduces compaction. Improved soil aggregate stability reduces soil erosion and run-off.  Soils are better able to absorb and retain moisture, as well as cycle nutrients. 

Low Cost Bio-Stimulant

For large scale use we recommend using our EM Soil and Crop product. This is our expanded ready to use product and is the most cost effective way to use EM. It can cost as low as $2.50 per litre depending on volume purchased (please contact us for volumes in excess of 200 litres). We recommend using 15-20L per hectare when using EM by itself or 5-10L per hectare when used in conjunction with other nutrients.

Please contact us for more information on how to make EM as cost effective as possible.

Relevant News Articles

Probiotic Yeast and their Impact in EM

12 December 2019

Another group of organisms found in EM include several species of probiotic yeasts. These yeasts are crucial as they synthesize antimicrobial and other useful substances required for plant growth from amino acids and sugars secreted by bacteria, organic matter and plant roots. Bio-active substances such as hormones and enzymes produced by yeasts promote active cell and root division.

Fungi and their Importance in EM

4 November 2019

In this post we look at fungi and their importance in EM. Fungi are a crucial part of the soil microbial environment, along with bacteria, fungi are important as decomposers in the soil food web. They convert hard-to-digest organic material into forms that other organisms can use. Fungal hyphae physically bind soil particles together, creating stable aggregates that help increase water...

The Importance of Photosynthetic Bacteria

1 November 2019

One of the major groups of Beneficial’s in EM includes a unique group of photosynthesising bacteria often referred to as Photosynthetic bacteria or Purple Non-Sulfur Bacteria (PNSB). These organisms can operate on the phyllosphere (leaf surface) and the rhizosphere (area around the roots).

We have Moved!!!

1 November 2019

We, here at the EMNZ, are excited to announce that we have moved to new premises in Christchurch. We have been at our current location for the past 10 years but growth over the past few years means we have now outgrown our current facilities and the time came to move.

Spring into Summer in the Garden - Radio NZ interview

22 October 2019

Otaki-based organic gardener, Kath Irvine has been growing all the vegetables to feed her family of 6 for a couple of decades now. She gives advice to prepare for when the seasons change and how to get the best out of your garden.

The Effect of the Soils Bulk Density

2 September 2019

A soils bulk density plays a huge role in determining the effectiveness of the soil and the future productivity of a farming operation. Bulk density reflects the soil’s ability to function for structural support, water and nutrient and microbial life movement, and soil aeration. In NZ many farms have seen there soils bulk densities increase over time decreasing soil productivity