News & Media

Grow your knowledge of soils this summer

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 18. December 2014 - 16:30

Farmers planning the management of soil organic matter over summer for the 2015 growing season are encouraged to refer to a practical guide published by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

‘Managing Soil Organic Matter: A Practical Guide’ was developed to support the profitability and sustainability of the State’s broadacre cropping and pasture-based farms.

Funding for the guide was provided by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Australian Government, via its Action on the Ground program.

Department research officer Fran Hoyle said the guide translated the latest research outcomes in soil organic matter to practical management options for growers.

Soil management information provided in the guide could be used by growers over summer in planning the management of soil organic matter for the 2015 growing season.

“Growers can use information provided in the guide to better manage particular paddocks and understand how soil carbon influences nutrient cycling and soil properties,” Dr Hoyle said.

“Soil organic matter can greatly benefit soil function and fertility, and any improvement can reap positive results.

“For example, by increasing soil pH to the minimum level suggested by the department, mineralisation rates increase and lead to more mineral nitrogen being made available to the crop.”

Dr Hoyle said in order for growers to make the best soil management decisions, they needed to understand how one management practice could influence soil carbon and a range of other soil properties.

“Given many growers face constraints such as soil acidity and hostile subsoils, it can be challenging to choose the right management option,” she said.

“That task can be simplified with new information included in the recently-updated department publication, ‘Soil acidity: a guide for WA farmers and consultants’ which references case studies, new trial data and frequently asked questions.”

More information on soil acidity, soil organic matter and other soil constraints can be found on the department website agric.wa.gov.au.

For a copy of ‘Managing Soil Organic Matter: A Practical Guide’ or ‘Soil acidity: a guide for WA farmers and consultants’, email liam.ryan@agric.wa.gov.au with your postal address.

The application of compost is described in detail in Managing Soil Organic Matter: A Practical Guide
The application of compost, which is a soil organic application used to help increase soil organic matter, is described in detail in Managing Soil Organic Matter: A Practical Guide.

Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Dionne Tindale, media liaison, +61 (0)8 9368 3937