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Corangamite Region   'Brown Book'   - How to optimise your soils to enhance productivity
Case Study
Benchmarking soil health on dairy farms in Heytesbury region
Source: Greenwood et al (2008)
The main findings from this soil health benchmarking project include:
  • The soil physical conditions in the Heytesbury area during the monitoring period (2005–2007) were generally good, with little evidence of pugging
  • Pastures on soils with low pH and high aluminium levels could profitably respond to application of lime
  • Levels of soil phosphorus were high to very high (>25 mg/kg) at most monitoring sites. These levels are higher than the economic optimum for pastures and are potentially detrimental to the local environment. Farmers could reduce, or temporarily cease, their phosphorus applications and still maintain high pasture productivity, while saving costs
  • Where soil potassium levels are high, potassium inputs can be reduced or deleted from the fertiliser regime. High potassium levels are potentially a concern for farmers, as they are implicated in the occurrence of grass tetany (hypomagnesemia) in near-calving and lactating cows
  • Soil chemical testing was able to identify potential soil health risks which were not detected by visual assessments. In particular, the production and use of whole farm nutrient maps, as supported by the Heytesbury District Landcare Network, would assist farmers to identify and manage soil health issues on their property

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This project is supported by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country

Page Updated: September 2013
Produced by AS Miner Geotechnical