Introduction to Soil Health in the Wet Tropics

In this video: Learn about the elements of soil and the importance of healthy soils for your farm. 

3 Elements of Healthy Soil

Soil is one of the most important assets on your farm and it needs to be kept in good condition for it to grow healthy productive crops.

Soil has three main parts to it:

  1. Soil biology
  2. Soil chemistry
  3. Physical structure or what we call the physical side of your soils.

These 3 parts need to be in balance for the soil to be healthy.

Good soil biology means having enough microbes, diversity, soil organisms and plant root volume to provide your soil with a good living community.

The key elements of soil chemistry include things like acidity, exchangeable aluminium and in some soils, sodium. The calcium magnesium ratio can also be really important.

The key physical part of the soil is having a soil with good tilth and structure. You don't want big clods, it should look nice and friable like cottage cheese.

When these 3 aspects of your soil are in balance and you have a healthy topsoil, your paddock, crop and farm will reap the benefits.

Benefits of healthy soil

  1. It really improves the efficiency of your fertilizer and nutrient management. A healthy soil cycles its nutrients and stores them really efficiently.
  2. It gives your soil is good aeration, good water infiltration and good moisture management
  3. It tends to minimise your pest and disease issues in the crops.
  4. You get less sediment runoff.

For more information

  • If you want to learn more about soil health and how to manage it and improve it on your farm get in touch with your local WTSIP Extension Officer.
  • For more information download WTSIP's brochure: Soil Health for Sugarcane or click on the links below to watch the next videos in this series:

 

topsoilNext Video : Soil Biology - The Life in Your Topsoil