The Evolving Soils Project
Supporting farmers and land managers across the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia to evolve their soil testing programs.
Although the benefits of soil testing are widely recognized by land managers, the extent of its adoption varies greatly, ranging from ad-hoc testing for general knowledge to systematic point or grid sampling for continuous validation of farm decision-making processes. Many factors, such as cost, time, and complexity of results, can act as barriers to increasing the complexity or frequency of a soil testing program.
Regular sampling and lab testing provides farmers with critical information to make informed decisions about input requirements, paddock optimisation and limiting factors. It is well documented that a combination of soil tests and on-farm observations will assist in determining the nutrient requirements of both crops and pastures. Regular tests build a better profile and the saying ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’ rings true in the case of soil sampling.
The goal of the Evolving Soils Project is to assist farmers and land managers in the Wheatbelt region of WA with improving their soil testing program and implementing sustainable practices that enhance soil health. WMG aims to initiate a dialogue and establish connections between farmers and industry professionals, providing them with the necessary resources and information to feel confident about soil testing and recognize its significance. The project emphasizes capacity building, enabling farmers and land managers to enhance their soil testing practices continually.
Commencement: 2022 | Completion: 2024
Funding body(s): Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program
Project Lead Organisation: The West Midlands Group
Collaborators: Corrigin Farm Improvement Group
Who is involved?
WMG are working with 10 farmers across the West Midlands region including farms in Badgingarra, Warradarge, Dandaragan, Moora, Yathroo, Eganu, Gillingarra, and Coomberdale. Alongside WMG, Corrigin Farm Improvement Group are working with 7 farmers. Each farmer is selecting a particular focus area in which they would like to evolve their current soil testing practices before being paired with a suitably qualified soil professional to both sample and to provide an understanding of the results.
Image: Map of the 2023 Evolving Soils Project sites
2023 focus areas
Across the two regions, focus areas range from gaining baseline soil data or simply increasing test complexity, to examining paddock, soil, and season variability, limiting factors, input responses, nutrient movement, soil organic carbon levels and microbiology assessments.
Image: The Valle Agribusiness & Environmental Solutions soil sampling rig used to sample on several of the Evolving Soils Project sites
Want to get involved?
Get in touch with our Project Communications Officer, Simon Kruger.
Mob: 0420 729 055
Coming from a successful 13-year career as a Chef in Perth, Simon completed a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications) specialising in digital design from Curtin University between 2019 and 2021. New to the agricultural industry but not to the region, Simon has returned to his hometown of Dandaragan to begin his new career in communications. He is passionate about problem solving, user experience, innovation, and education and looking forward to bringing his thirst for knowledge and unique skillset to the WMG team and region.