Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 6 : Healthy Soils
What does this module do for you?

Our thinking about soils and ‘soil health’ has come a long way in the past decade — soil is not there simply to support plants and their root systems; it’s a dynamic, living environment and a vital farm resource in its own right. However, the ‘science’ of soil health is not very advanced and we don’t have a broadly accepted definition of a healthy soil. But we can usually tell one when we see it — healthy soils take in and retain water, look alive and feel crumbly, recycle nutrients and water, and provide a healthy environment in which to grow plants.

This module will help you answer questions such as:

  • How can I improve my soil to maximise pasture growth?
  • What will a soil test tell me?
  • How can I maintain healthy soil biology?
  • Why is groundcover so important to a healthy soil?

More than any other farm resource, soil health is about protecting and building up the capital so that we, as well as future generations, can continue to live on the interest. No amount of technology, genetics or grazing management will protect a business in the longer term if that business is depleting the soil resources.

Nutrients and soil testing for maximising pasture growth are covered in Module 7.

Module 6 Contents
6.1 Manage according to soil capability — develop a simple farm map that includes the main soil types and their potential productivity/management needs. View Procedure
6.2 Maintain groundcover to protect soil and keep the soil ‘bugs’ healthy — with some tools to help assess groundcover and soil health. View Procedure
6.3 Test soils for key indicators of soil health — how to take and interpret soil tests. View Procedure
6.4 Implement solutions for problem soils — including soil acidity, salinity, sodicity, waterlogging, compaction and non-wetting sands. View Procedure
6.1 A guide to classifying land capability View Tool
6.2 Measuring groundcover and litter levels View Tool
6.3 Assessing soil health View Tool
6.4 Taking a soil sample for laboratory testing View Tool
6.5 Soil health benchmarks and guidelines for managing problem soils View Tool