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Soils for Life Blog

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Changing practices to deal with rainfall variability

Gunningrah. Read Charlie’s own experience of why and how he changed to regenerative farming practices and the wonderful outcomes the Maslins have achieved on their property.   PART ONE Changes to the management of water on Gunningrah The variability we face on our southern Monaro property is the factor which drove us to make substantial changes to the way we manage water. This applies to both the rain which ....

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Managing Waterways

Many of the Soils for Life case study participants are applying techniques which are based on the natural hydrology of the Australian landscape and how nature evolved and sustained immensely productive and resilient biosystems despite Australia being such a dry continent. By understanding these hydrological processes, resilient water systems can be designed and restored. Restoring hydrological processes Australia’s landscape used to be characterised by ‘in-soil’ reservoirs. Complex microbial ecologies maintained soft deep soils which allowed for infiltration ....

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Maximising rainfall infiltration for production

last week) and maximise rainfall infiltration and retention to support longer production times, Soils for Life case study participants have focused on improving soil structure and increasing vegetative cover.   Improved infiltration through grazing management On a number of our case study grazing properties, time-controlled planned grazing has been implemented (many based on Allan Savory’s Holistic Management techniques). A key component of this form of grazing management is increased ....

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Managing our water in a changing climate

  1].   Australians are also some of the highest per capita consumers of water and yet Australia is the driest inhabited continent with variable rainfalls. Variable rainfalls can have damaging results on the landscape and, as a result, valuable water is lost for use by vegetation or stock The CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology 2012 State of the Climate report highlights a trend for "increased spring and summer monsoonal rainfall across Australia’s north; higher than normal rainfall across the centre, and decreased late autumn and winter rainfall across the south." It also notes that despite higher than average rainfall totals across 2010 and 2011, southwest Western ....

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More than just N, P, K

case study farms have demonstrated how to build healthy soils and the production outcomes that can subsequently be achieved.   By building good levels of soil organic carbon and supporting soil biology, nutrients are much more easily and effectively transferred through plants and into the food and fibre on which we depend. Giving back through compost and green manure crops Although these natural cycles are inherently regenerative, by harvesting our food and fibre and moving our ....

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The Wonderful World of Soil Biology

  case studies have demonstrated that by supporting the biological activity in their soil, they can increase the nutrient availability, health and productivity of their soils. This process is becoming more widely understood, as new technologies provide access to much more detailed information about the biology of the soil and how to adjust it to improve productivity and profit (see the recent ABC Landline episode on Soil Secrets). Our case study participants used techniques such as the application of organic composts, worm juice and biological amendments to enhance the biological activity ....

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Improving the Carbon Content of Soil

last week's post for why that's important.   Soil organic carbon (SOC) is the main constituent of soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is formed by the biological, chemical and physical decay of organic materials on the soil surface and below the ground. On average, SOM is composed of 50% carbon, 40% oxygen, 3% nitrogen and smaller amounts of other elements as micronutrients. SOM varies in its stability. Some is labile, relatively quickly biodegradable, and other components are more ....

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Why 'Soils for Life'?

last week and you can understand how a good cover of vegetation helps hold the soil together in extreme weather events such as flooding or high winds, or conversely, how in dry times, covered soil full of organic matter remains moister for longer than exposed bare ground.   Healthy soils also support production – and not just for this or next season, but with the right investment, sustainably for the long term. Isn’t soil formation a ....