Soil Health

A healthy soil is the lifeblood of your farm.  Good soil structure and nutrition levels are one of the keys to profitable farming.

Once you have completed this module to at least Level 2, you will have achieved the following:

  • Established measures to prevent or minimise erosion in susceptible areas, including a monitoring plan to keep an eye on progress
  • Monitored  your soils for structural issues like compaction, hard setting, salinity and sodicity and adopted infield practices to minimise potential problems
  • Used soil tests and field history information to determine nutrient input requirements
  • Employed the most appropriate and efficient nutrient application methods and timing


Key Area: Nutrition: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and others

Crop nutrient requirements are managed efficiently and effectively

Check List:

Level 2

Soil tests conducted to assess limiting soil nutrient nutrients and plan crop requirements (N, P, K and other nutrients) for a targeted yield. Records are kept to show soil nutrient trends over time

Level 2

A nutrient budget (N, P, K,) is prepared to calculate fertiliser requirements based on inputs (fertiliser, soil fertility) and outputs (yield removal, crop residue returns)

Level 2

A fertiliser plan (right sources, right rate, right time, right place) has been developed, and records are kept to monitor trends

Level 2

In crop monitoring (plant / leaf blade / petiole testing) used to assess nutrient levels and adjust fertilisers inputs based on seasonal conditions and crop yield

Level 3 Farm trials are conducted to verify fertiliser management practices
Level 3

Crop rotation systems including nitrogen fixing legumes are adopted when practical


Key Area: Soil Structure

Soil structure is assessed, maintained and improved

Check List:

Level 2

Soil organic carbon levels are monitored

Level 2 The soil surface is monitored visually for any structure issues or changes such as compaction, dispersion or hard setting
Level 2

Minimum tillage practices and crop residues are maintained where appropriate to maintain soil organic matter and reduce soil erosion

Level 2 Prolonged bare fallows should be avoided
Level 2

Soil compaction is minimised by managing appropriate selection of machinery, implements and timing of operations

Level 2

Soil sodicity (ESP) is monitored from soil testing

Level 2

Soil salinity (EC) is monitored through soil tests and remedial strategies considered

Level 2 The quality of irrigation water and its effect on the presence / risk of salinity, sodicity and dispersion is considered and managed
Level 2

Sub-surface structural issues, causes and potential structural problems are identified through assessing soil pits and appropriate laboratory, soil and water tests

Level 3 Field variability issues are recognised, causes are explored and where appropriate addressed
Level 3 Where available, knowledge from local water table monitoring programs is used to assist farm management decisions
Level 3

Cover cropping is implemented in rotations to improve water infiltration, soil health, aggregate structure, water logging and mitigate erosion

Erosion risks are monitored and managed

Check List:

Level 2 Areas at risk of erosion have been identified, assessed, recorded and regularly monitored
Level 2 Where erosion events do occur, action is taken to prevent their re-occurrence