Fungal Mycelium - what does it do?
The importance of fungal mycelium in the soil cannot be under estimated, yet in modern agriculture it is given merely a passing glance if at all. As farmers we used to see the result in the autumn when the mushrooms came, which was really only the fruiting cycle of that certain mycelium in your soil.
All mushrooms and toadstools are just that! Throughout the year properly functioning mycelium can dissolve nutrients from parent material using their own exudates and deliver them over long distances. The best way to describe them is they act in a similar fashion as the internet.
All parts of the soil of your farm is connected through complex communication, deficiencies and requirements of soil and plants are transmitted through this network for nutrient to be delivered to where it is needed.
The right types of mycelium also control the type of bacteria in your soils as the exudates work in the same way penicillin works. Remember penicillin came from mold or should I say a type of fungus otherwise known as mycelium.
The reality is like many other quirks of nature, that the good guys cannot handle the wrong conditions whether that be sprays either, herbicide, fungicide or pesticide. Nor can they handle heavy metal contamination such as cadmium.
For most farmers they will be able to think back when they can remember the flush of mushrooms in the autumn, but now when these conditions set in they are more worried about the results of another fungal problem facial eczema which puts of a toxin which makes cattle and sheep photo sensitive.
The other nasty at that type of year relates to high endophyte ryegrass, again another fungal based issue. These two nasties can be controlled using lime and getting your soils balanced which in time changes pasture species and takes the environment away that they thrive in. The worst thing in the world to do is use a fungicide as they are non selective and will take out all the beneficial ones as well.
One of the break throughs we have had in the last 6months has been identifying a mycelium that not only does wonders for the soil, it also seems to help in the digestion of the animals. It is quite a complex equation but watch the video to see the results.