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Soil Health Management Plan - Appendices

Back to: Soil health management plan - concept, process and pilot study with Mid Loddon Sub Catchment Management Group

Appendix B-Program

Appendix A - Questions

Questions used to seed discussion at the introduction of the SHMP process (kitchen table discussion). After the round table discussions these were left as 'homework' for the participants. The real value was in the conversation and engagement rather than the particular responses.

The Farm Business – planning and Management

1. Describe the Farm Business (size, type of enterprises, history)
2. What are the primary business goals?
3. How far ahead do you plan? Is there a long term plan / goal?
4. How much of your time is spent managing the farm business (planning, record keeping etc.)
5. What tools do you use to help you manage the farm business?
6. Do you use a computer to manage the farm business records and plans?
7. Have you ever done a whole farm plan?
8. If yes, when was it done and how useful was it? Is it still useful?
9. Are there any tools or skills that you think you need to help make the farm business more effective?
10 .How much time per year would you be prepared to put into developing and implementing a soil health management plan?

The Soil

1. How important is the consideration of soil in short and long term planning?
2. Why is this so?
3. What business activities and decisions are affected by the soil or soil condition, and affect or might affect soil condition?
4. Do you have a definition of soil health?
5. What is it?
6. Do you have a goal for soil health?
7. What is it?
8. How often would you walk in most paddocks during the year?
9. Do you look at, handle or sample the soil during any of these visits?
10. Do you have different soils on your farm?
11. Describe the main characteristics of the soils on your farm?
12. Do you have a good appreciation of where the soil differences are?
13. Do soil differences affect any management decisions?
14. Are there any things about your soil that you find difficult to manage?
15. Have you adopted any management practices that are specifically to help soil condition or health?
16. How often have you or do you sample soils for chemical analysis?
17. Do you always use the same laboratory for soil analysis?
18. Who gives you advice with regard to managing your soil fertility?
19. What is your practice with regard to soil fertility management (major nutrients NPK)
20. What fertility aspects do you deal with besides NPK?
21. Have you ever used lime? Why, when, how much and what was the result?
22. Have you ever used gypsum? Why, when, how much and what was the result?
23. Have you ever used organic manures? Why, when, how much and what was the result?
24. Have you ever used any ‘biological’ products? Why, when, how much and what was the result?

Machinery and stock

1. If you have stock how do you manage paddocks with regard to cropping, pasture and stock?
2. How many different machines and implements do you use to manage your crop or stock?
3. Do you know what they weigh?
4. Do you know their wheel spacings / axle width?
5. Do you determine tyre pressures within any particular range? Why or why not?
6. Do you have any plans for new machinery in the next 5-10 years? What?

Appendix B - Program

Through the former DPI's Healthy Soils project, seminars and training modules were delivered to the MLSC. A summary of activities is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Timetable of activities in the Soil Health Management Plan pilot project.





Pre September 2008Pits excavated, sampled and analysed.
Geophysics surveys for trial sites. Field days, trials, pit days, seminars
15 daysDPI staff
MLSC group
September 2008Pits excavated, sampled and analysed for Lucerne trial sites and SHMP participating farms8 daysDPI staff
MLSC farmers at Lucerne trial sites
October 2008'Understanding soils and soil structure module' (group). Hands on activities and field visits (soil pits)1 dayDPI staff
MLSC group
December 2008Half day kitchen table discussion - soil health planning and the farm business. (2 day participating farms)0.5 day plus
0.5 day preparation
DPI staff
SHMP pilot participants
MLSC facilitator
January 2008Half day in DPI - GIS session to identify land parcels for the 2 farms0.5 days plus
1.5 days support
DPI staff
SHMP pilot participants
MLSC facilitator
January 2008GIS output returned to farmers with paddock boundaries for validation and naming0.5 daysDPI staff
February 2009Half day in DPI - AgriGater training and collation of paddock information from 2 participating farms0.5 days plus
0.5 days support
DPI staff
SHMP participants
MLSC facilitator
March 2009Understanding soil tests - module delivery (group)1 dayDPI staff
MLSC group
June 2009Demonstration of moisture monitoring probe and logger (Martin Peters)0.5 dayConsultant
MLSC group
June 2009Paddock walks with participating farms2 days plus 0.5 day map preparationDPI staff
July 2009Presentation to group and feedback provided by SHMP farmers1 dayDPI staff
MLSC group
July 2009Understanding soil water
Soil organic matter
Soil biology
Module delivery (group)
1 day plus preparationDPI staff
MLSC group
July-Sept 2009Report production (including pit report for Lucerne sites)10 daysDPI staff
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