Cutting-edge research into soil health

As part of the DairyFeedbase 23-28 research, the DairySoils project aims to introduce cutting-edge farming practices that reduce the industry's reliance on synthetic fertilisers, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and enhance overall productivity.

Healthy, productive soils are a key driver of dairy farm performance, efficiency and profitability. Quality soil grows nutrient-rich pasture for stock and supports the long-term sustainability of farmland. By delving into research on soil health and pasture composition changes – as well as measuring and reducing methane emissions – the DairySoils project seeks to increase the profitability and productivity of dairy farms, while minimising their environmental impact.


The research will employ state-of-the-art sensors to measure, map, retain, and recover moisture and nutrient levels essential for producing reliable and sustainable soil.


The project is part of the Victorian Dairy Innovation Agreement, a collaboration between Gardiner Foundation, Dairy Australia and Agriculture Victoria. It aims to capitalise on existing expertise and infrastructure to drive meaningful change in dairy farming practices, leveraging Victoria's world-class facilities at Agriculture Victoria's Ellinbank, Hamilton SmartFarms and the AgriBio Centre for AgriBiosciences at Bundoora.


The new DairyFeedbase research is taking a comprehensive approach to address various aspects of dairy farming, including soil health, forages and animal nutrition.


The aim of the research is to provide farmers and advisors with guidance and planning approaches to make more informed pasture management decisions to improve or maintain optimum soil health and productivity.


The Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Ros Spence, said healthy soil played a critical role in advancing the sustainability of Victoria's $2.5 billion dairy industry. She said she was confident that the  groundbreaking soil research undertaken by the DairySoils project would significantly enhance industry efficiency in improving and maintaining nutritious and healthy soil.


Dairy Australia Managing Director Dr David Nation hailed the DairySoil program as a cornerstone investment in soil research for the DairyFeedbase program.


He said it recognised the pivotal role soil health played in farm profitability and sustainability and highlighted the potential for farmers to derive more from their soil.


Gardiner Foundation CEO Allan Cameron said including soils in the DairyFeedbase program was significant, noting that it would provide valuable insights on creating healthier, more productive soils for dairy farms.


The DairySoils project investment in the latest research and technology supports sustainable and efficient farming practices in the dairy industry, and it has the potential to reshape the future of dairy farming. The outcomes aim to help dairy farms with decision making when it comes to nutrient management practices for their herd, reducing synthetic fertiliser use and minimising environmental impacts on their farm profitably.


To find out more about soils research for sustainable and productive forages, watch this dairy innovation webinar at

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