Changes in soil condition tend to occur slowly overtime. From one day to the next, even one year to the next, soil can appear unchanged. It is only when we see photographs or monitoring data, separated by years, or dramatic events like sheet or gully erosion, that we are suddenly aware that soil degradation is occurring.
Soil is one of the natural resources that Glenelg Hopkins CMA works with the community to improve and protect. You cannot manage what you cannot measure, and efforts to monitor soil condition at a catchment scale, have tended to be overly complex and expensive.
In 2018, Glenelg Hopkins CMA teamed up with Southern Farming Systems and land managers to establish a benchmark (or snapshot) of soil condition across the region. Soil monitoring sites were established at 100 locations with sites selected to achieve a representative cross-section of soil types, climate zones and agricultural enterprises. Soil cores were taken to a depth of 1.0 m, and samples taken at 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm and 20-30 cm. Standard soil tests were applied to 0-10 cm samples, with deeper samples tested for acidity (pH) and salinity (EC). GPS coordinates for each soil monitoring site were recorded.
Trends in soil test data over time better inform soil management decisions than individual samples. For this reason, it is intended that sites will be retested at five-year intervals, with the next to occur in 2023. Over time these snapshots will help us understand how soil condition across the catchment is changing and inform what actions need to be taken to reverse emerging degradation trends.
Soil cores were taken up to 1m depths at each of the 100 soil monitoring sites
Soil health knowledgebase
The Soil Health Knowledgebase is a web-based store of soil health information hosted by Corangamite CMA and developed in partnership with Glenelg Hopkins CMA and Federation University’s, Centre for e-Research and Digital Innovation (CeRDI). Over 2020/21, Soil Benchmarking Project, test results and soil core descriptions have been uploaded to the site. In 2021/22, this data will become publicly assessable.
|Partners||Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Corangamite CMA, National Landcare Program, Federation University – Centre for e-Research and Digital Innovation, Agriculture Victoria|
|Investors||Australian Governments Regional Land Partnerships|
|Related Strategies||National Soils Strategy|