On-Farm Soil Monitoring

Sampling Soil Structure

On-Farm Soil Monitoring

Overview
The On-Farm Soil Monitoring Handbook was developed for farmers as a tool for monitoring soil health. The handbook was adapted from the ‘Monitoring Soil Science’ resource developed by SPICE. This resource helps teachers introduce scientific methodologies, including soil sampling strategies, to students and provides a platform for ongoing soil-based scientific research. SPICE is a collaborative program between the Western Australian Department of Education and The University of Western Australia.
Delivery Organisation
Wheatbelt NRM, SPICE, UWA
Contact

Jo Wheeler

Project Manager – Sustainable Industries

Phone: (08) 9670 3121

Mobile: 0419 753 248

Email: jwheeler@wheatbeltnrm.org.au


The On-Farm Soil Monitoring project introduced landholders to the diversity of soil organisms on their properties and to using on-farm soil monitoring methods.

 

Soil fauna such as mites and springtails have important roles in the chemical, physical and biological aspects of soil health. They play a key role in breaking down organic matter into the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi live inside roots of crop, pasture and many native plants. They help with nutrient uptake, improving soil structure and access to soil moisture, and cycling carbon through the soil.

 

The On-Farm Soil Monitoring Handbook was developed as part of this project. You can assess the soil fauna on your farm with simple methods and equipment. The handbook includes information on how to:

  • sample soil and roots
  •  extract and count the dominant soil mesofauna (mites and springtails)
  •  identify mycorrhizal fungi in samples

 

Soil organisms are sensitive to land management practices. The handbook suggests on-farm activities you can complete, such as looking at how different management affects soil fauna numbers and diversity and the presence of mycorrhizal fungi. On-farm monitoring of soil organisms adds local knowledge on how agricultural practices affect soil conditions within and between seasons. By completing these activities, you can increase your understanding of factors affecting your farm’s soil health.

 

The On-Farm Soil Monitoring project was a joint project led by Wheatbelt NRM, the South West Catchments Council and The University of Western Australia. 

 

Have you taken a great picture of micro fauna in your soil?

 

Upload your Micro-Fauna photo to our website

 

 

Downloads
Soil Science Monotoring Manual final.pdf28th May 2014