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Victorian Resources Online

History of Department of Agriculture Soil Surveys

Statewide Soil

The Early Years (1874-1923) | Interdepartmental Surveys (1927-1942) | Large scale irrigation region surveys (1943-1975) | Dryland surveys (1976-1993)

Soil and survey projects (1994-1997) | References

This section provides an overview of the history of soil survey in the former Department of Agriculture - up to the formation of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in 1996. This information was developed by John Martin as part of a contribution to developing a history of the former Department of Agriculture. Additional information has also been provided by Ian Sargeant as part of a paper developed for a Soil Surveying in Agriculture Symposium held by the Australian Soil Science Society (Victorian Branch) in Tatura (October 2003).

Interest and work in aspects of soil science, survey and related research began in the very early years of the Department. Officers involved in this work were fully supported by State Laboratories, later becoming the State Chemistry Laboratory, and now part of DPI, Werribee) from those years to the present time. The pattern of development of soil survey and related research has been greatly influenced by the relatively slow realisation of their significant role in the general development of agriculture and by the changing national and state economic circumstances of the times. The reference list is not exhaustive but does include reports which indicate the kind of work and projects carried out by the unit staff. Historically this development may be conveniently divided into five periods. The main surveys and typical associated research activities are described for each of the periods.

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