SA 08 8332 0199 | WA 08 9477 2277

Boosting pastures with soil analysis

May 6, 2020

Livestock producers can capitalise on high livestock prices by making the most of home-grown feed. The first step in doing this is soil testing.

Recent widespread rain will provide some much-needed moisture for pastures, but getting nutrition right will give them the biggest boost. APAL can help livestock producers give their pastures a boost by providing soil analysis in a timely manner.

According to Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation’s Making More from Sheep initiative, it is very hard to assess the nutrient levels of the different soil types or management units on a property without gathering some objective information.

Soil testing will identify whether macro elements – phosphorous, potassium, sulphur and nitrogen – are limiting pasture growth and also provide information about soil health, particularly acidity, salinity and sodicity.

Find out why agronomist Greg Mitchell soil tests pasture paddocks with APAL.

Tips for soil sampling pasture paddocks

  • Soil testing should be done at the same time of the year. However, soil test now if results are more than two years old.
  • At least 30 soil cores are required for each sample. Cores should be taken along monitor lines or transects that you can come back and re-sample in 1-2 years, or collected randomly across the area.
  • Avoid sampling in dung and urine patches, areas near gateways, water troughs and stock camps etc.
  • Use APAL’s Farm2Lab app to set a strategic sampling plan and record geolocations. This will help ensure sample integrity and a consistent data trend as each new sample will be done on the same location within the paddock (see Figure 1).
  • Take the samples to the standard depth (7.5cm in Tasmania, 10cm in all other states).
  • Keep the samples cool and send them to APAL as soon as possible.

More information is available on the Dairy Australia website.

Figure 1: Map of Olsen P soil tests in Farm2Lab