Healthy soils are the cornerstone of productive and sustainable agricultural farming systems. In Tasmania, our soil is one of the States most important assets that we must nurture for continued agricultural productivity.
Globally there is growing recognition of the critical importance of maintaining and rebuilding healthy soils for long term sustainable agricultural production. As the world population continues to grow, production requirements also grow, placing more and more pressure on farmers to increase yields and quality, but often to the detriment of our soils.
A healthy soil is a dynamic and living system, where Physical, Chemical and Biological attributes must be considered and managed equally. Too often the physical aspect of soils is managed by bigger and better tractors and equipment, and nutrition has been easy through the ready availability of fertilisers. Similarly weed control was made easy via chemical application. However, farming has almost come about full circle, and we are learning that mechanical manipulation of our soils is not the answer to good lasting soil structure. Changing legislation and consumer demand is also changing chemical availability, so growers are increasingly looking for new and different products and methods to help improve the health and productivity of their soils.
Serve-Ag is committed to working with our clients to maintain the health and productivity of our soils. Innovation and monitoring to manage, is key to this success.
Monitoring and Assessments
At Serve-Ag, we can assist you with tailored ‘Soil Health Checks’, which address your specific needs and requirements, providing a holistic, integrated approach to understanding your farming systems.
A soil Health Check compliments your standard soil testing requirements, by looking in detail at the chemical, physical and biological aspects of your soil. For your soil to function optimally, these three criteria should be considered equally.
Prior to any soil testing, we work with growers to gain a thorough understanding of rotations and management history, along with other site or catchment conditions that may impact on productivity, such as poor drainage, salinity or disease pressure. Working alongside growers provides the ability to prioritise issues and target management to maximise your benefits.
The SoilWise soil health assessment is a unique service offered by Serve-Ag, that uses an integrated approach building on conventional chemical soil tests by including key physical and biological indicators. Importantly, many of these indicators are assessed in the field, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of your overall soil health.
SoilWise health checks can be tailored to each farm’s needs through the selection of any number of key soil attributes. These may include:
- Physical: structure, texture, compaction, aggregate stability, infiltration, slaking and dispersion, rooting depth etc.
- Chemical: total carbon, total nitrogen, available nitrogen, pH, salinity, sodicity, organic matter etc.
- Biological: particulate organic matter, earthworm populations, beneficial macro-fauna and pest macro-fauna. Soilborne pests and diseases and various microbial populations can also be assessed through associated laboratories we work with.
SoilWise health check reports are presented in an easy to understand format, allowing growers to quickly understand their overall soil health and identify areas of concern for immediate action.
Regular monitoring enables proactive management of your soils, ultimately minimising potential risks and increasing opportunities to improve crop quality and overall yields. Soil Health checks will compliment regular nutrient analyses, and facilitate the development of Soil Health Management Plans integrating crop rotation and agronomic advice from your local agronomist.
SoilWise health checks also underpin the essential groundtruthing component of remote sensing activities undertaken on farm, assessing the cause of spatial variability that may occur across soils and crops. For more information on remote sensing and precision agriculture, follow this link.