When there are no living roots in the soil, such as might be found in a corn field from fall to spring, the health of the soil suffers.  Some soil microbes go dormant while other soil organisms, including earthworms, may die due to lack of food resources.  Living roots exude carbohydrates into the soil that provide a food source for many bacteria and fungi, which are in turn fed upon by other soil organisms.  Some of the microbes in return provide nutrients to crop roots, and all the soil organisms over time contribute to buildup of soil organic matter.

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