Check out the livestock beneath your boots

Soil organisms are underground livestock that need be to fed, too.

It’s as important to feed the underground livestock on your farm as it is to feed the above-ground livestock on your farm.

The above-ground livestock need no introduction. They’re cows, pigs, sheep and other animals. The underground livestock are more of a mystery. They are soil organisms — everything from microscopic bacteria and fungi to tiny nematodes, mites and beetles. They feed on living roots and each other. Together, they make up the foundation of the soil food web. The underground livestock may be as important as the above-ground livestock because they produce the nutrients that crops need to grow.

Here is a look through the microscope at some of the species in the all-important “herd” roaming beneath your boots.

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