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Healthy Soils for Sustainable Farms

2005 - 2008

Compared to other countries and its overall land mass, Australia has a relatively small amount of productive, arable land. Many of our soils are ancient and prone to erosion, structural decline, sodicity and acidity.

The net benefits to Australian farmers treating soil sodicity and acidity, could be more than $11 billion. It is therefore comforting to know that remarkable and rapid improvement in soil structure, organic content and nutrient performance is possible through changed management practices.

The achievements of the program, its outcomes and summaries of each project, can be found in the Final Report.

What is Healthy Soils for Sustainable Farms

The Healthy Soils for sustainable Farms Program was a wide-ranging, $5 million program that covers a variety of agricultural sectors across almost all the states of Australia.

Healthy soils:

  • Optimise farm management, meaning greater cost-effectiveness
  • add value to property
  • benefit Australia’s food and fibre exports
  • soils boost our national environmental credibility

The range of agricultural industries that where involved in the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Farms Program included:

  • Grain and crops
  • Cotton
  • Sheep and wool
  • Sugar
  • Vegetables
  • Organics

Healthy Soils for Sustainable Farms achieved high participation rates, uncovered significant demand for information about soil health, and successfully delivered a range of products, workshops and forums. This was achieved despite difficult drought conditions.

The scale of the projects supported ranges from multi-state projects to catchment-focused initiatives. Some projects are took highly sophisticated, multi-factored approaches. Others delivered simple, kick-the-earth guides. All had a valid role in ensuring the ongoing productivity of Australia’s precious soil heritage.

We aimed to deliver adoption projects based on research, knowledge management, trial and demonstration sites and strategic projects, to contribute to the program’s outcomes and provide context for the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Farms Program.


Adoption projects include:

  • Demonstrated agricultural management options based on local scale healthy soil processes
  • Efficient systems for monitoring soil from paddock level to the surrounding catchment level
  • Tools to help producers measure, record, monitor and adaptively manage the health of their soils
  • Opportunities for learning about soils and their management


Strategic projects include:

  • A national soil management learning program
  • A national soil symposium
  • A knowledge base

id: 3412 / created: 26 May, 2009 / last updated: 07 October, 2009