Building Soil Skills

Landholders developing skills to understand, assess and monitor their property's soil health.

Building Soil Skills

Landholders developing skills to understand, assess and monitor their property's soil health.

Taking Action -


The issue

Upper Lachlan landholders wanted to be able to monitor changes in their soil health in response to modified management practices. Such as reduced stocking rates, rotational grazing with increased rest intervals, varied fertiliser applications, compost applications etc. Commercial soil tests are expensive and not necessarily the best indicators of biological activity and soil health.

The solution

Upper Lachlan Landcare teamed up with David Hardwick, an agricultural ecologist, from SoilLandFood consultants to deliver 3 workshops throughout the Upper Lachlan Shire.


  • Workshop One covered the components of the soil profile and how these components interact with each other.
  • Workshop Two explained commercial soil tests and how to interpret them.
  • Workshop Three bought all the information together and allowed participants the opportunity to become really confident in applying all they had learnt.


During all 3 workshops participants completed practical soil tests that are easily repeatable in the paddock to assess and monitor their own soil, without the need for expensive gear. David's open minded and inclusive approach is to understand what you have - what the capacity of your soil is. By understanding your soil type, you can then manage this soil resource for the best long term, sustainable gain of your property.

The impact

Participants now have the skills and knowledge to cost effectively monitor their soil health. They can assess the soil health in one paddock as easily as across their entire property. By understanding their soil dynamics participants are in a better position to assess the merits of a variety of management decisions. Monitoring the impact of practice change is now cost effective and achievable across their entire property.


Important in the success of this project was engaging with David Hardwick. David's technical knowledge is solid. His delivery technique is easily digestible and his manner is friendly and relaxed. David built a strong repore with participants, and we received very positive feedback.

Key facts

  • Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day, teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.
  • Give someone a soil test and they know their soil health today, teach someone to assess their own soil health and they can monitor soil health when and where they choose.

Project Partners