Industry Projects

Past, Present and Future Drivers of Soil Change

The Thomas Elder Institute is partnering with multiple partners on a collaborative project entitled Past, Present and Future Drivers of Soil Change. It is funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of the National Soil Science Challenge.

At a glance

  • Project name: Past, Present and Future Drivers of Soil Change.
  • Partners: University of Adelaide, SARDI, PIRSA, Birchip Cropping Group, and Kalyx Australia
  • Location: SARDI Molecular Diagnostic Centre
  • Project commenced: Mid 2022
  • Project ends: Late 2025
  • Objective: The project will determine how agricultural soil biology has changed in key cropping regions over the last 20 years to improve productivity, profitability and resilience for Australia’s agricultural sector.

How the project works

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the research division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), will examine soil DNA samples collected over the past 20 years to improve productivity, profitability and resilience for Australia’s agricultural sector.

The Past, Present and Future Drivers of Soil Change project is led by Professor Timothy Cavagnaro from the University of Adelaide, and Dr Rhiannon Schilling from SARDI, regional farming system groups Birchip Cropping Group and Kalyx Australia; and the Thomas Elder Institute.

The project would analyse how soil biology composition has changed since the early 2000s across a time period when crop yields have almost doubled, drawing on SARDI’s extensive soil DNA sample archive, held by the SARDI Molecular Diagnostic Centre.  The archive features more than 10,000 samples collected from cropping paddocks across Australia.

This project is an opportunity to learn from historical changes in soil biology composition and to use these to identify key drivers in our farming systems. By learning from the past, it will enhance future on-farm management decisions focused on optimising soil biology to increase crop productivity.

 

Learn about our other Industry projects.

Need more information?

For more information including how you can partner with us, please call Dr Michael Wilkes, Head of Thomas Elder Institute on 0438211247.

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