Soil sampling for this year’s Sustainable Agriculture Fertiliser Management program intake is in full swing. Participating farmers can choose to have staff from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) take soil samples on their behalf, or they can nominate to do it themselves. Those farmers who elected to take their own soil samples were recently invited to a DIY field day, where they were shown how take soil samples to a high standard and had the opportunity to practice.
Using a battery drill-operated auger calibrated to 10cm, farmers are required to take a minimum of thirty cores per paddock. Soil samples are sent to the CSBP laboratory where they are analysed for pH, Phosphorus Buffering Index (PBI), soil texture, organic matter, and nutrients including phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and nitrogen. Soil testing enables farmers to make evidence-based fertiliser decisions, helping to keep nutrients on the farm for production and out of our precious waterways and estuary.
The DIY field day was a great success, and approximately half of those farmers who nominated to do their own soil sampling have completed sampling their farms. Soil test results and nutrient maps, and education on interpreting these results, will be provided to farmers at a workshop to be held in February 2023.
This project is a part of Healthy Estuaries WA – a State Government program that aims to improve the health of our South West Estuaries.