Soils, Nutrient, Effluent

Soils and biodiversity

Healthy, productive soils are a key driver of dairy farm profitability in Tasmania’s pasture-based systems. Dairy farmers are becoming more strategic in their use of fertilisers and effluent because effluent is a key part of soil management on dairy farms. DairyTas recommends regular soil testing and an understanding of nutrient budgeting to help maintain soil health on-farm.

Understanding soil quality by region

Biological, chemical and physical data on the soil quality in each region of Tasmania is available on the Soil Quality website.

Soil health

The latest research and training on soil health is available on the Soil Health website.

Soils underpin the efficiency of plant production on dairy farms. Three aspects of soils are considered when addressing the productivity of soils. These are:

  • The physical properties
  • The chemical properties, including the nutrient
  • The biological properties

Keeping these three properties in mind when taking action to amend soils will help to maintain a highly productive and efficient system.

The chemical properties of the soil include the nutrient content of the soil. This is both the macro and micro nutrients. Organic carbon and soil pH are also part of the chemical properties of the soil.

Nutrients can be applied to soils in many ways, including via fertiliser and effluent and compost. Nutrients are also added to the system via feed inputs.

Nutrient management has a big impact on farm profits. Dairy Australia works with a range of industry and natural resource management partners to help farmers manage fertiliser application, soil health and effluent.

The Better Fertiliser Decisions report contains information on soil test–pasture response relationships for phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulphur (S) at regional, state and national scales. It can be found on the Dairying for Tomorrow website.


Many farmers are now finding that when they get soil and fertiliser management right, they can produce more feed at no extra cost. With careful planning, fertiliser becomes a strategic tool to boost feed when it is most needed. Fert$mart provides farmers and advisors with a planning approach and the know-how to achieve this.

Fert$mart can also save money by better matching applications to pasture nutrient requirements, allowing farmers to save money on fertilisers without reducing production. Using the Fert$mart approach, nutrient application can better match the 4Rs principle (right product at the right rate at the right time and in the right place).

For information about Fert$mart, visit

Effluent Management

The on and off-farm benefits of good effluent management and links to contacts and resources in the area of dairy effluent management.


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