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Soils for Life Blog

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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 stable (non-labile). The ratio of labile to non-labile depends on microbial conditions. As in nature, we can transform arid soils into ....

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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 ....

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The Regenerative Soil-Water-Vegetation Cycle

  Together in a natural system, soil, water and vegetation - supported by a constant flow of solar energy - provide a regenerative cycle. Improving landscape management practices can help to restore these natural systems, through which we can maximise water use efficiency, improve soil health, nutrient cycling and biodiversity of vegetation. In simple terms, a properly structured soil, with good levels of soil organic carbon, allows greater infiltration and retention of rainfall. Every gram of carbon in the soil can retain up to eight grams of water. By improving soil structure – particularly soil carbon levels – through increasing organic matter in ....

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About the Soils for Life Blog

Soils for Life aims to encourage and support the wide adoption of regenerative landscape management by Australian farmers and land managers. To achieve this, we seek out leading practice in landscape management - where positive economic, environmental and social outcomes have been achieved - and share these experiences to assist others. We'll use this blog to discuss what we've found and what these innovative farmers are doing. Hopefully we can de-mystify what are sometime still considered ‘fringe’ practices, and show that they are affordable, achievable, worth adopting – ....