On-Farm Soil Monitoring

Sampling Soil Structure

On-Farm Soil Monitoring

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

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 is a joint project led by Wheatbelt NRM, the South West Catchments Council and The University of Western Australia. It is designed to introduce landowners and farmers to the diversity of organisms in their soils and to the use on-farm soil monitoring methods.


The On-Farm Soil Monitoring Handbook was developed as part of this project and explains procedures for assessing soil fauna (especially mites and springtails) and the mycorrhizal fungi inside roots of crop and pasture plants as well as many Australian plant species. Soil mites and springtails both have important roles in chemical, physical and biological components of soil health. They are sensitive to land management practices and can be assessed on-farm with relatively simple methods and equipment.

The On-Farm Soil Monitoring Handbook includes information about how to sample soil and roots, and how to extract and count the dominant soil mesofauna (mites and springtails). It also offers suggestions for on-farm research activities, such as investigating the effects of land management practices on the abundance and diversity of soil fauna and on the presence of mycorrhizal fungi inside roots.

By following the soil monitoring suggestions in the Handbook below, farmers have an opportunity to increase understanding of factors that influence the health of their soils. On-farm monitoring of soil fauna and mycorrhizal fungi contributes local knowledge that is relevant to how agricultural management practices influence soil conditions within and between seasons. It focuses on soil biological fertility, as well as on soil chemical and physical fertility.


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Soil Science Monotoring Manual final.pdf28th May 2014