Farmers and graziers manage soils, pastures, crops and animals in diverse ways. Over the years farming methods have evolved as a result of scientific discoveries, the experience of farmers, new technologies, economic conditions, climate variability, government regulations and social expectations.
Scientific studies, field trials and on-farm implementation have led to a better understanding of the ecological processes underlying land management and have identified improved management techniques for soils, fallows, crop rotations, organic matter, native pastures,
pest and disease prevention and control, and coping with drought.
Farmers have worked out the best practices for their own operations and financial situations.
The results of all this work have been published in scientific journals, advisory material, newspapers and newsletters, and often demonstrated at field days.
However, the presentation of the results is often uncoordinated and not always available or understandable for all potential users.
In the past, work was done to establish best practice for a range of land uses and geographic areas: it was developed by cooperation between researchers, advisory personnel and farmers, to produce “how-to” guides for best practice. These guides often included case studies of the practices used by certain farmers. The Soils for Life newsletters still produce a
range of case studies.
Furthermore, governments also provided incentives for the uptake of new technology and best practice. An example was subsidisation of the costs of modifying cropping machinery to allow conservation tillage and stubble management.
Soil Knowledge Position Statement
The Soil Knowledge Network strongly supports the development and promulgation of plain-English best practice guides, with supporting evidence and economic evaluation, including case studies of the best practices used by progressive farmers across a range of land uses
and geographic areas.
The Soil Knowledge Network also supports prudent provision of incentives for adoption of the identified and recommended best practices.