Gippsland Soil Trials and Demonstrations

Gippsland Soil Trials and Demonstrations is a part of the Healthy Soils Sustainable Farms Project :
Funded by the Australian Government – National Landcare Programme.

The objective is to provide information from Gippsland based trials, demonstrations and research that relate to soil, pasture, crop and nutrient management.

The scope, objectives and scientific rigour of the information varies dramatically. Findings and views expressed are those of the proponents. The intention is to provide a repository of regional knowledge that facilitates discussion and assists farmers in making decisions.

Studies can be filtered by scientific rigour, industry, location and study type.

Further information on soils can be found through Victorian Resources Online, CSIRO and our page for Landholders.


50 results found for: All Industries, All Topics, All Basis, All Regions.


Mixed farming on a sodic soil can increase production, improve soil condition and be more profitable than perennial grazing under similar conditions.


Through the Healthy Soils Sustainable Farms project, the Maffra and District Landcare Network (MDLN) has been working to develop a more holistic extension approach tailored to Gippsland's dryland grazing enterprises.


The SoilKee renovator (developed in Gippsland) aerates soil with minimal pasture disturbance. It buries organic matter, top-dresses the pasture with soil and drills seed into the rows. The aim of this demonstration is to study and discuss the actions of the SoilKee.


A long term study of the persistence and performance of different pasture species mixes sown in 2009.


Results from an online survey and 22 one-on-one interviews with land managers, Landcare and agency staff, investigate and understand farmer perceptions of carbon farming.


The use of organic amendments on Gippsland cropping soils will increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil and reduce the need for nitrogen application while maintaining or increasing production.


The Bulmer’s together with the Soil Wealth team are now trialling a range of soil cultivation practices which reduce the amount of tillage required and enhance the soil health benefits of  cover crops.


Adam Schreuer and the Soil Wealth team are trialling caliente mustard, rye corn and sorghum as summer cover crops in the Schreuers' rotation as soil conditioners. These crops are compared with a fallow period (control).


To provide farmers with the tools to manage their soils sustainably, firstly we must understand the soil types currently managed by dairy farmers and secondly quantify changes in soil properties in response to management.


SaltCAP is focused on first understanding the principals that govern saline land capability, to then make the best decisions for which plants will work in the saline landscape for greatest production and financial gain.


The objective of this on-farm demonstration is to evaluate the effectiveness of compost and lime application’s ability to reinvigorate surface decomposition processes thereby reducing acid root mat constraints on pasture production.


In this study we used the RothC model to assess whether soil C accumulation under cropping using stubble retention and pasture rotations could be a significant offset for greenhouse gas emissions.


Adding a culture of soil biology to pasture in combination with magnesium, lime, potash and sulphur will improve soil profile, pasture quality and dry matter yield to a greater level than magnesium, lime, potash and sulphur alone.


Determine the benefit of heavy lime application and extended grazing. The combination of actions are intended to alleviate salinity, improve pasture quality and carbon levels in soil.


The objective of this farm demonstration is to test seaweed and its effectiveness in a perennial dairy grazing system. The hypothesis is that the use of seaweed as a foliar spray will increase dry matter yield, nutrient levels in the pasture and fungal activity in the soil.


To determine management actions that will change a paddock dominated by Parramatta grass (Sporobulus africanus) into one with preferred perennial grass species. The combination of actions is intended to improve pasture quality and soil carbon levels.


Nutrient recycling and deposition in dung and urine from grazing cows can contribute to the uneven distribution and accumulation of nutrients on dairy farms.


Topsoil phosphorus is an important driver of pasture productivity, but can also lead to nutrient losses from runoff. The aim of this research was to explore soil and land management interactions and phosphorus content for dry-land pasture topsoils in the Moe River catchment (Gippsland, Victoria).


Dairy farm management practices associated with animal treading can have detrimental impacts on physical and hydrological properties of soils.


This study investigated nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) whole-farm balances and existing soil nutrient levels on 41 contrasting dairy operations across Australia to see if there were opportunities to reduce or exclude fertiliser inputs.


Investigates management of soil biology in order to reduce fertiliser inputs while maintaining profitable pasture production. The project will: (i) Compare pasture productivity and profitability between paddocks managed using a conventional fertiliser regime and the addition of lime to lift pH from 5.5 to 6.4. (ii) Monitor the soil microbial community associated at three different pH levels


Measure soil carbon stocks and composition - in pasture & cropping systems of Victoria - determine influence of management - in regions with varying climate and soil.


To link soil carbon and soil acidification with farm management practices, leading to increased knowledge of farmers and an increased uptake of sustainable farming practices.


Assess the performance of the rapid soil health assessment tool developed by BCLN. Soils from 40 farms and reference sites were analysed for a suite of physicochemical properties. These properties were assessed against BCLN's soil health assessment tool to test its robustness.


The project sought to better understand how soil health indicators may be used to assess the sustainability of small scale farms. This analysis considered these indicators in the context of a permaculture and conventional farm setting. The primary research question was, can smallholding, natural systems farms be considered sustainable in terms of soil health?


The trial was intended to test the effect of fertiliser use on pasture growth in a trial using conventional fertilisers and compost tea application. The trial was conducted in the Tarago water supply catchment and sought to find ways of maintaining production, while using less fertiliser and reducing fertiliser loading into the Tarago reservoir.


The project involves farm-based demonstrations in East Gippsland CMA region aimed at encouraging the adoption of pasture cropping to renovated degraded pastures, increase their perenniality and improve soil carbon.


The trial was undertaken to assess pasture responses to fertiliser application, with the ultimate aim to increase dry matter production and inform decisions on profitability of lime and fertiliser use.


The project provides baseline information on carbon levels under different land management types across East Gippsland. Trial sites will be determined using LUIM (land use impact model). Up to 15 trial pits have been established and 1000 soil samples tested. Baseline soil carbon data will be used to support investigation of the effects of soil carbon on sustainable farming.


The trial was established to investigate alternative soil and crop management practices West Gippsland dairy farms to address declining soil and pasture health and summer feed gaps without the need for high nitrogen inputs.


The case study outlines the soil and pasture constraints identified within the focus paddock on ‘Ballyo’ and provides a summary of the remedial techniques that are now being tested and trialled.


Two major research sites and multiple farm demonstrate sites were established to provide farmers with an understanding of the impacts various fertilisers have on plant growth and various chemical, physical and biological soil characteristics. The trials tested conventional and a range of alternative fertiliser products.


The project’s objective was to increase beef/lamb production by 10% (or 10 kg live weight per hectare) on the Red Gum Plains of Gippsland by improving the biological activity of soils. The hypothesis was that improved biological activities would improve the productivity of soils, pastures and animals. The additives used in the trial included: poultry manure, brown coal, molasses and compost tea.


The height and density of grass correlates with the depth and mass of roots. When grasses are constantly short, roots are shallow and unable to withstand dry conditions. A plant continually grazed uses its energy to produce leaf; there is little energy left to grow deep roots, exude carbohydrates into the soil to support microbial populations and sequester carbon. Extended rest and rotation of stock will: (i) significantly reduce unpalatable weeds (ii) gradually increase ground cover to 100% all year (iii) increase pasture species diversity (iv) increase the percentage of perennial species (v) increase the carrying capacity in the long term


Farm experience with the development of a biological system soil management system for a dairy farming and free range pork operation. The aim was to improve the performance and persistence of pastures and improve soil, plant and livestock health.


The trial used test strips and soil analysis to help develop a fertiliser program that contributes to profitable dairy farming operations. It considered dry matter production responses to fertiliser application, as well as long term soil health and sustainability issues.


The project sought to assess methods for replacing current drought affected pasture species with productive species that lead to better production outcomes and reduced environmental impacts. The project responded to the need to restore groundcover on north facing pasture land in the Strzelecki Ranges, following losses during the droughts of the 2000s.


The trial was conducted to identify effective methods for renovating run-down pastures using pasture cropping.


Research was conducted on nine sites with different soil types and phosphorus buffering capacities to assess how the effectiveness of P fertiliser application (expressed as the change in extractable phosphorus per unit of P applied) varied.


Research was conducted to assess how extractable phosphorus concentration response to P fertiliser application at various levels varies between different soil types


The trial sought to identify yield benefits of the trial of Sincocin (soil conditioner) and Agrispon (soil biostimulant) on Sebago potatoes. The soil conditioners were used to increase the availability and/or uptake of nutrients from fertilisers.


A suite of indicators were assessed for use in monitoring short and long term changes in soil quality under grazed pastures. The project included 26 trial sites, of which 10 were located in Gippsland and provided data on soil chemistry, physical and biological properties and how they changed over time and with depth in the soil profile.


Perform trials on 14 focus farms with phosphorous and potassium fertilisers assess pasture and animal production response. Investigate the role of calcium and boron deficiencies in sub clover seed set.


Sustainability Victoria has completed research to demonstrate the appropriateness and applicability of recycled organic composts, soil conditioners and mulches.


This trial investigates the effect of modifying the physical and chemical properties of soil (including acidity and aluminium and manganese toxicity) on perennial pasture production and root distribution at two sites. A range of soil modification treatments were applied at different soil depths and monitored over two years.


Investigates how soil pH changes under long-term pastures of various types. pH of soils below over 100 grazed pastures was compared with that of nearby undisturbed (ungrazed and unfertilised) soils to assess the extent of change in soil pH across the profile.


To determine how the chemistry of pasture soils had changed since the development of pastures and how changes in soil pH were related to changes in C and N cycles. The study was based on over 100 pasture sites across Victoria.


This trial investigates the effect of modifying the physical and chemical properties of soil (including acidity and aluminium and manganese toxicity) on perennial pasture production and root distribution at two sites. A range of soil modification treatments were applied at different soil depths and monitored over two years.


Results from about 600 trials investigating the effects of N fertiliser on Victorian pastures over the past 50 years have been collected and reviewed. This review sought to quantify the magnitude of pasture responses to fertiliser and interactions with various management treatments. The review considers a variety of effects of N fertilizers, including the influence of nitrogen fertilizers on soil acidity.

A record of lime trials conducted over decades by Department of Agriculture agronomists. The document summarises pasture responses to lime and fertiliser use.