South Australia

Soil Fertility Guidelines

The soil fertility guidelines are used to interpret your soil test results, and to calculate fertiliser requirements for a dairy pasture. The soil fertility guidelines help to identify if soil nutrient levels are low, adequate or high in relation to the levels required for optimum pasture production. The optimum soil fertility level for a dairy pasture system is reached when the yield is between 95% and 98% of the maximum potential yield. Beyond this point further application of fertilisers is generally uneconomical. Numerous trials and research results have been used to calibrate soil test values against yield responses and to produce the soil fertility guidelines.

For detailed information on interpreting soil and tissue tests refer to the Dairy Soils and Fertiliser Manual, Chapter 9.

Research & Trials

There are many research projects, trials and demonstrations currently underway throughout Australia to investigate better ways to manage soils, nutrients and fertilisers on dairy farms. The following projects are specific to South Australian dairy farms:

Regional Soils Information

It is essential to know the locations and characteristics of specific soil types on a dairy farm in order to make sound soil and fertiliser management decisions. Soil properties such as soil structure, depth, texture, salinity, acidity, waterlogging or compaction can limit crop and pasture growth even when the soil has adequate nutrients. South Australia has a wide variety of soil types that reflect differences in soil forming processes dictated by factors such as geology, landform, stream activity, vegetation, climate and age (i.e. degree of weathering). Follow these links to find out more about the properties of your soils:

South Australian Resources Online presents a wide range of soil information which is continually being expanded:

Australian Soil Resource Information System (ASRIS) provides online access to the best publicly available information on soil and land resources in a consistent format across Australia:

SoilMapp taps into the best available soil information from Australia’s national soil databases and allows you to find out about the likely soil types in your area:

For more information about soil properties refer to the Dairy Soils and Fertiliser Manual, Chapter 4.