Whether you have your property for lifestyle or for productive and commercial enterprises, management of the soils on your property is a very important consideration. Good soils support good plant growth and pasture production, in turn underpinning the health of livestock.
Good soil condition and fertility are basic to sustainable agriculture and contribute to the health of your property. An ideal soil should be well-drained, have a deep rooting zone, be easily penetrated by air, water, and roots, have a good water-holding capacity, have a balanced nutrient supply, and resist erosion.
Soil erosion, soil structural decline and organic matter decline under cropping have been recognised as the major soil management problems for the State.
A number of resources have been selected to help you in understanding the soils on your property and and how to manage them, mitigating degradation and hopefully improving them over time.
What type of soil do I have?
Understanding the soils on your property will help you decide the best management practices.
Soils Maps of Tasmania
on the Department's web site is a resource to help you identify your soil type. Maps are available from Service Tasmania or there are links available on the web page to electronic versions of these maps.
How do I manage my soil type?
The book Soils Alive!,
Understanding and Managing Soil Biology on Tasmanian Farms
provides guidance with regard to management practices that support healthy soil ecosystem function. A copy of this book in pdf format is available on the web page.
Soil structure and management
provides information on cropping soils, deep ripping, drainage and Kraznozem (Ferrosol) topsoil structure.
Soil organic matter
Organic matter is widely regarded as a vital component of a healthy soil. It is an important part of the soil's physical, chemical and biological fertility.
Soil Organic Matter
provides information on how to manage and increase organic matter in your soils.
Acid sulfate soils
Acid Sulfate Soils
(ASS) underlie parts of Tasmania's coastline and some inland locations. They are natural soils that contain sulfides (mostly iron sulfides) and can cause significant problems if disturbed or exposed, so they require specific consideration in management practices.
Drains are important for carrying excess water off agricultural land and are essential in establishing good productive land. There are various types of drainage systems. Information on land drainage and what happens when you drain you land and other issues in available on the
Follow the link for information on the extent, types and control of soil erosion in Tasmania.
Control of soil erosion
Soil pH and liming
Soil pH, or soil reaction, affects the solubility of minerals or nutrients essential for plant growth. Learning the variation in pH in soils on your property will help you in your management decisions.
As soil acidity increases (the lower the pH), more lime is needed. You will have to add more lime to clay soils and peaty soils than you will to sandy soils to achieve the same result because different soil types react in different ways to the application of lime.
The Soil pH and Liming web page describes what pH means, measuring pH, types of liming materials and other related matters.
Regular sampling of soils on your property can help you in monitoring the changes occurring through your management practises. The
Soil Sampling area provides instructions on the correct procedure for collecting soil samples to ensure consistent and reliable results.
It is important to improve
irrigation management in order to increase production, reduce the cost of production, reduce pests and diseases, optimise the use of a scarce resource and reduce impacts on the environment. typMore careful use of water is necessary to ensure optimum use of the available water supplies.
Salinity is the presence of salts in soil and water. In sufficient quantity these salts may be detrimental to plants and animals. Some of the issues concerned with salinity in ground water and irrigation are discussed on the
Salinity and Land Degradation web page.
Good soil condition and fertility are basic to sustainable agriculture. The information provided in the publications below provide a set of recommended best practice guides for a range of soil management issues to sustain crop and pasture production and maintain soil in good condition.
Soil Management guidelines and publications
Stubble management options include burning, physically removing stubble, or retaining it in the paddock. The advantages and disadvantages are discussed on the
Stubble Management page.
Useful contacts for helping you manage your soils
03 6333 7777
Cradle Coast NRM
03 6433 8400
03 6221 6111