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Why have a soil health management plan?

What is a soil health management plan?

Back to Soil health management plan

Soil is a finite resource on the farm. The size of the farm, along with the inherent qualities of the soil combine with land class, seasonal temperatures and water availability to determine the choice of produce, the production system, and the productive potential of the farming enterprise. Management of soil health needs to be an explicit part of the planning - along with the economics of production, machinery operation and replacement costs, seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and labour. Many soil related factors influence the success of an enterprise.

The following figure illustrates how soil factors relate to the production system:

Soil Health Management Plan - concept - figure 1
A flow chart showing how soil health influences plant growth, changing production and changes to animal and human health

The central green pathway in the figure represents the choice of crop or pasture to be grown. The blue boxes are the end result (food quality, animal and human health, total production and production efficiency). The brown circle represents farming practices applied to achieve the best end result by managing soil conditions and weeds whilst responding to seasonal invasions of pests and pathogens and the vagaries of the weather.

A soil health management plan is a tool to gather such information into a composite set of actions and results. There is a lot of property and local information about to support it. It must be intimately coupled with the business plan. A successful soil health management plan will always be a work-in-progress.

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