Soil sampling project worth $54million for farmers’ back pockets

A pilot Soil Monitoring Incentives Program is offering farmers and land managers $275 per sampling site capped at $10,000 for each ABN

A project supported by funding through the Australian Government National Soil Strategy (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) has $54 million to spend on soil testing at $275 a pop

Southern Cross University and the Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) are inviting farmers and land managers across the country to participate in a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry incentivised soil sampling and analysis program.

Under the pilot Soil Monitoring Incentives Program (SMIP), the soil analysis data can assist farmers to make informed decisions on land management practices, while also being available to others for use through the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS).

Farmers and land managers can receive $275 per sampling site, capped at $10,000 per ABN, towards the cost of soil sampling and analysis and sharing the data through ANSIS. They can also receive assistance from Commonwealth-funded soil extension officers to interpret their soil test results.

EAL’s Senior Manager of Laboratory Operations, Graham Lancaster, said participating in the soil sampling initiative enables farmers to benchmark the carbon or organic matter of their farm soil and can even contribute to Emissions Reduction Fund projects.

The EAL pneumatic core drilling trailer and sampling vehicle. The core drilling machine is used to extract 1m depth soil samples for analysis

Southern Cross’ SMIP Project Officer Debbe Allen said, “It’s really important we get farmers from across the country involved, and lots of them, so that in future those making policy decisions around soils will have relevant data for informed decisions.

“Currently, there is not enough quality data to make confident recommendations, and compared with the rest of the world, we are decades behind with this.

“It might cost farmers a little more money, but it might also save them significantly on ameliorants, if they know what nutrients their pastures and crops can already access below the top 10cm layer.”

Southern Cross University is also looking for qualified agronomists across the country with soil sampling experience to come on board to assist with delivering this program.

To apply, go to this link: https://www.scu.edu.au/pilot-soils-program/#register

For more information on the program take a look at this link: or email: soiltest@scu.edu.au or call direct on tel: 02 6620 3489. The program ends on 30 June 2023.