Building on success: Soil CRC announces eight new projects

| Posted Jun 13,2024

The Soil CRC is investing a further $4.1 million in new research with another eight projects approved for delivery over the next three years. Soil CRC CEO Dr Michael Crawford said these projects build on previous Soil CRC research into soil data and performance metrics, novel products and technology to increase soil function, and farmer engagement and adoption.

“This research reinforces the Soil CRC’s commitment to give farmers the knowledge and tools they need to make decisions on extremely complex soil management issues,” he said.

“Of course, the Soil CRC is a collaborative effort, and our research success depends on the ongoing contributions made by our participants. The new projects involve 19 of our 39 participant organisations, who together have committed $8.7 million of in-kind contributions.”

The latest investment brings the total cash spending on projects to more than $40 million since the CRC commenced in 2017.

“As the Soil CRC heads into the final three years of our 10-year funding term, our research is delivering tangible outputs for farmers and industry to improve the productivity and profitability of their soil and ensure the long-term sustainability of their businesses,” Dr Crawford said.

Introducing our new projects

Social benchmarking rural landholders across Australia – Dr Hanabeth Luke, Southern Cross University

This project will complete the Soil CRC’s social benchmarking of rural landholders program to enable an understanding of how farmer practices, aspirations, and motivations have changed since the commencement of the Soil CRC. The knowledge gained from this research will help the Soil CRC and farmer groups to better respond to farmers’ needs and will further inform strategic planning into the future.

Market mechanisms for improved soil stewardship – Professor Mark Morrison, Charles Sturt University

Previous Soil CRC research has explored the opportunities for consumer and financial markets to reward on-farm soil stewardship practices. This project will further examine and summarise the market mechanisms that capture and distribute financial returns from soil stewardship. Providing targeted information about the range and magnitude of available incentives is intended to assist decision-making and increase the uptake of soil stewardship practices.

Soil CRC Accelerator Program – Maximising adoption and engagement – Bret Ryan, Southern Farming Systems

Led by Soil CRC farming group participants, this project aims to expedite the delivery of Soil CRC innovations to end users (farmers) to increase adoption and engagement. It will create a new model for accelerated research translation that will help to maximise the Soil CRC’s impact and provide a legacy framework for future CRCs to follow.

Soil performance indicators and their interdependencies – Dr Nathan Robinson, Federation University Australia

The aim of this project is to produce an enduring resource on key soil indicators, including target and range values, that can be used and adopted by advisors, growers, grower groups, soil and land management researchers and government. Co-design and expert guidance will ensure that the research outputs, including relevant interpretations, fulfill users’ needs, are actionable, and have value for the Soil CRC and beyond.

Visualising Australasia’s Soils: building a legacy – Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus, Federation University Australia

The Visualising Australasia’s Soils (VAS) project commenced in 2019 to provide Soil CRC participants, and the agricultural industry more broadly, with access to data, information and knowledge on Australasian soils. This final phase aims to transform VAS into an enduring component of an Australasian soils knowledge system that is self-sustaining and inherently useful for research and education. 

Organic-based nitrogen fertilisers for crop production and soil health – Dr Yunying Fang, Griffith University

This project will develop the Soil CRC’s organic-based slow-release urea fertilisers and provide recommendations for usage and placement in farming systems. The overall aim is to co-deliver agronomic and economic benefits for farmers and improve ecological sustainability.

Improving crop phosphorus supply on highly calcareous soils – Brian Dzoma, PIRSA (with co-investment by GRDC)

This project aims to provide integrated and sustainable soil phosphorus management strategies to farmers and advisers dealing with highly calcareous soils. It builds on the legacy of a previous Soil CRC/GRDC project that developed innovative physical and chemical management packages to improve conditions on calcareous soils.

Next generation tools to engineer higher performing soils – Professor Keith Pembleton, University of Southern Queensland

This project brings together the Soil CRC’s soil constraint and amelioration modelling to create novel decision support tools for growers and their advisors. These tools will help guide on-farm soil amelioration and reengineering decisions.

View all current projects

About the Soil CRC

The Soil CRC takes a multi-disciplinary approach to soil research, aiming to increase the profitability of Australia’s agriculture through increasing the productivity of our soils.

Our four overarching research programs are looking at the human aspects of soil management, soil performance metrics, new products to increase fertility and function, and integrated soil management solutions.

The Soil CRC is funded by the Australian Government through the Cooperative Research Centre Program and by its 39 participant organisations, including eight universities, four state agencies, seven industry organisations and twenty farmer groups.