Johnson-Su Bioreactor

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Quickly restore soil with this low-cost method developed in New Mexico

David Johnson is a molecular biologist conducting research as Research Scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Agricultural Research at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM and an Adjunct Professor at the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at California State University, Chico, CA.

Dr. Johnson has been doing breakthrough work in regards to the efficacy of biologically diverse, fungal-dominated compost for carbon sequestration and improved soil health and crop yields. His method is called BEAM (Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management). The composting system he devised with his wife Hui-Chun Su is called the Johnson-Su Bioreactor.

Compost is often erroneously thought of as fertilizer, a way of adding nutrients to the soil. BEAM compost actually addresses soil health through soil biology. It replaces soil microbes in soil that has been degraded and is lacking in soil life. Adding BEAM compost inoculants and following the soil health principles –using for example no-till or low-till practices, cover crops and other regenerative agriculture practices– revives the mutually beneficial symbiosis between soil microbes and plant roots. Quite quickly, the soil starts to recover, and striking improvements in crop yields and carbon sequestration occur.

David’s research in soil microbial community structure and function, has opened a window for viewing the interdependence between plants and soil microbes. Rebuilding a soil’s microbial community population, structure, diversity and biological functionality will also provide a robust and practical mechanism to begin reducing atmospheric CO 2 within a regenerative agricultural system.

READ MORE about the Johnson-Su system and join the growing global community of bioreactor builders at the CENTER FOR REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE AND RESILIENT SYSTEMS

How-to for a No-Turn Composting System that produces a SUPERIOR, microbially-diverse and fungal-dominant compost. This compost can be used to restore biological functionality to soils from small to large farming operations and from simple to advanced agroecosystems.

Watch Jason Carter of Carter Farms in Eastover, SC, treat 250 lbs of cover crop seed with Johnson-Su compost slurry and plant with a no-till grain drill.

For more videos, see this Johnson-Su bioreactor youtube playlist

Subscribe to Dr. David Johnson’s youtube channel at

Get your dirt working with microbes, Taos News

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