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Healthy soils are essential in the Riverine Plains. Our project work helps farmers protect and improve their soils, to help their systems thrive.

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Soils are the key to productive, profitable and sustainable farming systems. Farmers recognise the importance of maintaining and improving their soil resources for long-term sustainability. 

Soils in the Riverine Plains vary from sands to loams and heavy clays and everything in between. They support winter cereals, canola, pulses and grass and legume-based pastures, as well as irrigated summer crops such as maize. Maximising crop and pastures production from our variable soil types relies on managing soil constraints, protecting soils from damage and improving soil fertility and health.

Poorly structured soils and constraints such as soil acidity and sodicity occur frequently in the Riverine Plains region. These can cause sensitive crops to yield poorly, with weeds and other pests and diseases becoming problematic in untreated paddocks. Understanding and managing these issues at a paddock and whole-farm level is key to overcoming soil issues and improving soil health in the long term.

Riverine Plains has been involved in soil-based projects that focus on improving soil health and farmers’ understanding of how they can better manage and maintain their soils. These projects aim to promote good soil structure and water holding capacity, as well as healthy populations of soil biota for nutrient cycling. Having healthy, resilient soils is also key to managing extreme conditions, such as drought and extended wet periods.

Research highlights

  • Riverine Plains project work highlights the importance of soil testing to depth to identify and treat acid soils in both the topsoil and subsurface layers
  • pH, CEC and soil organic carbon can all affect how much moisture is stored in soils – healthier soils are more likely to be able to store moisture for use later in the season
  • Splitting deep nitrogen samples (for example 0-30cm and 30-60cm) will identify nitrogen’s location in your soil profile

Building soil resilience and carbon by increasing crop diversity

We are identifying ways to build resilient soils and enhance carbon stocks in cropping systems, using a range of species in cover cropping and companion crop plantings.

Building Soil Resilience & Carbon through Plant Diversity - Teaser-1


Our project work is helping to advance solutions to complex soils-related issues and address the challenges that farmers currently face.



Discover past and upcoming events – from webinars and seminars to workshops and field days.


Discover unique perspectives on agriculture from across the Riverine Plains.

CSI participants discuss GHG emissions, tour Mars Petcare
Getting the most out of your deep soil nitrogen testing
Recording of virtual cover & intercropping field day