Regional Collaboration on Soil Health!

Published 15th September 2023. Written by Maddison O’Brien

“Havilah North”, served as the backdrop for a sunny day in the field. We set out to examine two distinct soil pits, conducting soil tests, and deciphering detailed results, all aimed at enhancing productivity while preserving the land’s integrity.

The workshop showcased the power of open discussion and hands-on learning as locals deepened their understanding of soil health’s pivotal role in agriculture. Phoebe from Little River and Soil Knowledge Network scientists, Ian Packer and John Lawrie, were on hand to guide participants through the intricacies of soil test results. Their expertise helped attendees decode the numbers, providing valuable insights into how to address identified soil constraints.

During breaks for morning tea and lunch, neighbours connected, sparking conversations among like-minded farmers eager to enhance their land and productivity. These moments are where the magic truly occurs, offering a unique chance for individuals to come together, discover shared interests, and learn from one another.

Little River Landcare’s Soils PET Project (People, Education, Training) funded by the Australian Governments National Landcare Program, now in its Phase 3, is actively underway. The project employs a meticulous approach to soil sampling, gathering data at 5cm intervals up to 20cm and then from 20-30cm depth. The primary goal is to pinpoint potential soil issues that could impact plant growth. Armed with this knowledge, producers can implement precise management strategies tailored to address the specific constraints.

Over the course of this initiative, Little River Landcare has analysed over 600 soil samples across the Central Tablelands. One recurring issue that has surfaced in results is manganese toxicity, a factor that can significantly hinder plant growth. Identifying such challenges is the first step toward mitigating their impact and fostering healthier soil ecosystems.

Little River Landcare’s Soil Project is a shining example of grassroots efforts to improve agriculture and environmental stewardship. The project drives changes in landscape management across the region. By disseminating knowledge and best practices, it empowers local communities to take proactive steps toward sustainable land use.

Through ongoing collaboration these initiatives are not only promoting sustainable practices but also fostering a sense of community and collective responsibility towards our precious land.

There will be opportunities for more landholders to be involved in future soil workshops as this project evolves. There are potential pathways to access discounted soil testing and mentoring. If you would like to express your interest, please contact  Phoebe from Little River Landcare at