NLP2 Future Soils

New to CWFS is the National Landcare funded project looking at soil acidity and machine learning to manage soil acidity in NSW.

Project Duration:

2019-2023

Background:

Soil acidity and declining Soil Organic Carbon affects over half of agricultural soils in southern and central NSW and threatens the viability and resilience of farming systems. Current acid soil management practices are based on outdated models that are failing to prevent the widespread development of subsurface acidity in contemporary cropping and pasture systems. This urgently needed project brings together an expert team from three farming system groups (grower engagement/extension), the NSW DPI (agronomy/soil science) and ANU (computer modelling/visualisation) to develop a new, accurate acidification model using innovative machine learning methods. Model outputs will be used to develop a free online decision support system and API protocols for integration with existing digital platforms. These tools will provide updated liming recommendations and interactive scenario forecasting which will ultimately result in more sustainable soil management and productive farming enterprises.

CWFS has two sites, one plot trial at the Condobolin Research Station and the other, a paddock scale trial, at Trundle. The small plot site at Condobolin has three treatments, a once off application of lime at 3 t/ha incorporated with offset discs, a yearly application of 80 kg/ha prilled lime down the tube at sowing and a control of nil lime. The paddock scale site at Trundle has six treatments, looking at two liming strategies; lime applied to lift the soil pH to 5 (CaCl) in the 0-10 cm soil depth, lime applied to lift the soil pH to 5.5 (CaCl) 0-10 cm soil depth, lime applied to lift the soil pH to 5.5 (CaCl) in the 0-5 cm soil depth, lime applied to lift the soil pH to 5.5 (CaCl) in the 0-10 cm soil depth incorporated with a speed tiller, control cultivated with a speed tiller and control no lime or cultivation. Both were sown into good moisture and are looking promising. Updates will be posted through the normal channels.

National Landcare funding site at Trundle looking
fantastic. No visual differences were able to be seen in the
paddock.

This is a project funded by the Australian Government through the National Landcare Program to improve on-farm management of acid soils and to increase soil organic carbon (SOC). NLP Project Code: 4-CS70YJ8