Soil Health and Management
- Managing soil on my property (Port Phillip & Westernport CMA). This simple guide outlines how you can assess the health of your soil, and strategies to improve soil health. 2 pages. Download here.
- Healthy soils (US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service). This series of fact sheets describes the basics and benefits of soil health. Farming using soil health principles and systems, such as no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, can help to increase soil organic matter and improve microbial activity. Results can include sequestering more carbon, increasing water infiltration and improving pollinator habitat – in addition to better yields. 8 pages. Download here.
- Soil biology (Murrumbidgee Landcare). This fact sheet explains the beneficial role that soil organisms play; describes the key features of microflora, microfauna, macrofauna and mesofauna; and gives useful tips on how to encourage beneficial organisms in your soils. 2 pages. Download here.
Soil Mapping and Classification
- SEED: Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data in NSW (NSW Government). The SEED database aims to provide an accessible platform for environmental data. It brings together various applications to view environmental data through interactive mapping, allowing you to overlay different datasets. You can zoom in to your property or region, and add map layers for soil classification, landscape type, and numerous other datasets. Download our handy guide on how to access the SEED database here, and access the SEED website here.
- Land and soil capability: How we safely manage the land (Central West Catchment Management Authority). While this guide was prepared some time ago, it contains a really useful description of the different classes of land and soil capability (which apply right across NSW). There is also information on potential issues and recommended management actions for each class. 36 pages. Download here.
- The Australian soil classification (CSIRO Publishing). The third edition of this comprehensive text has recently been released, and is available as a free download. It provides a framework for organising knowledge about Australian soils by allocating soils to classes via a key. Since its publication in 1996, this book has been widely adopted and formally endorsed as the official national system. Access the download link here.
- Getting to know your garden soil (Soil Science Australia). This kit details easy home tests you can complete on your soil for soil colour, texture, structure, pH, dispersiveness and organic matter. Importantly, it also covers how to interpret the results! 7 pages. Download here.
- Understanding your soils (Soil Science Australia). This series of five videos is a perfect introduction to help you ‘understand your soils’ (as the name suggests!). The videos cover: Identifying soil horizons, testing pH in the field, looking at sodicity & salinity, texturing in the field, and non-wetting soils. Each video is around 3 to 5 minutes long. View here.
- Landcare RASH manual: A landholders’ guide to the Rapid Assessment of Soil Health (Little River Landcare Group). The RASH technique for assessing your soil health is simple, accurate and easy to interpret. It uses 10 base indicators, which are divided into physical, chemical and biological categories. Following the step by step process in the guide will give you useful information to help guide your land management and decision making. 32 pages. Download here.
- Rapid assessment of soil health (NQ Dry Tropics NRM). This series of short (3 to 5 minute) videos complement the Landcare RASH Manual, above. In the videos, David Hardwick guides you through the steps in testing your soil using the RASH approach. The videos clearly demonstrate how to assess your soil texture, ground cover, water infiltration, soil aggregates, soil organism diversity, and soil pH. View here.
- Soil testing methods (Food & Agriculture Organisation). If you would like to know more about soils and soil testing, then this is the guide for you! It is not a light read, but it is clearly laid out and easy to skip to sections of interest. It is an international guide for land managers to assess their soil using quick and easy field-based techniques, providing information on both soil condition and plant performance. 100 pages. Download here.
- Soil sampling guidelines (Holbrook Landcare Network). If you would like to get professional soil tests from a lab, you will need to know how to collect samples to make sure that they are representative of the area you are testing. This guide provides clear tips, and some easy techniques for collecting samples. 2 page. Download here.