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Describe major feature of soils with reference to group Folders,soil and landscape properties and laborartry data.

The Future Farm

Located at the ‘Ridgefield Farm’GPS UTM Coordinates 498621E, 6406819N UWA Ridgefield Farm, Via Page Road Approximately 10 Km North Of Pingelly, WA

In essence, the overall environmental change has no doubt presented a rather new focus on the cultivation organizations in Western Australia. The Australian soils are considered to among the oldest soils which are mostly weathered, shallow as well as infertile in regards to the world standards and therefore it as presented various challenges to the people who seek to manage the soil (Kidd et al., 2018). In this regard, surface soil layers in most Australian area are deemed to be poorly fertile compared to those which are found in deeper layers. Additionally, most of the surface soil is poorly structured and have low organic matter content. Apparently, there have been reports concerning the existence of high clay soils content throughout Australia, therefore, becoming a hindrance to the roots grow as well as the overall drainage processes. Noteworthy, it is no doubt that bleached layers of soils that have low levels of nutrients have a huge impact on the productivity pattern in Australia. Many of the area’s soils are hugely affected by the levels of salinity, modifications as well as other acidification constraints, therefore, resulting to a rather physical and chemicals limitations to a wider variety of crops intended to be grown in the Australian region. Additionally, pasture growth and productivity have been negatively impacted in due to this varied content in the Australian soil. For instance, soil acidity has been thought to have a huge impact on at least two-thirds of Western Australia’s wheat farming in an area that for many years has been producing more than a half of Australia’s wheat production where 80 percent of this wheat is intended for export purposes. In this sense, the Australian farming institution has been costed more than $400 million as a result of the apparent loss in the production of wheat. Most of the Australian soils are difficult to manage due to the varied limitations it possesses despite the fact that Australia has large fertile cracking clays. Nonetheless, overall Australia’s variability of climate has been a huge contributing factor in the challenges facing soil management for many years now. In this regard, managing the soil and land in this country needs the availability of sophisticated sort of risk management structures as well as a high resources of expertise and adaptability.

Major Features of Australian Soils

Apparently, the Australian soil is one of the major assets that belong to the national government, therefore, underpinning the overall country’s agriculture productivity and the ability to be one of the main food exporters worth $30 billion every year. Just as assets requires maintenance, so are soil across the globe. In the quest of boasting food productivity across the world, there is a need for change in strategies across Australia calling for an intensive soil management program. Additionally, there is a need for the agriculture sector to manage climatic change and reduce the greenhouse effect. Apparently, this can be done through reduction of wasteful gas emission in the entire Australia community and the rest of the world. to achieve this attribute, there would be the need for formulation of multiple goals in the overall urge of improving soil across Australian region particularly in Western Australia.

Various credible research has suggested that the Australian soil is likely to be affected by the certain issues such as the degradation, acidification, erosion as well as the overall loss of the soil carbon throughout the years. This is projected to have an adverse effect on the Australian agriculture sector in coming days unless there is a rather carefully management of soil involved. Recent research on the assessment of the soil condition in regions where cropping and grazing system are undertaken shows that 50 percent of the soil region were in a rather poor state while at least 95 percent across the region indicated an immense deterioration in the level of soil PH regarding acidification (Murphy, 2017). On the other hand, the level of wind and water erosion had taken place in at least more than 53 percent assessed which meant that there was a poor soil cover across Western Australia. Additionally, the research indicated that more than 33 percent of the region has a poor soil carbon content while there was an ongoing deterioration in the level of soil carbon of about 85 percent.

There has been an ongoing threat thanks to the level of dryland salinity although recent drought tends to halt the spread temporarily. Noteworthy, there has been the process of mining agricultural soils in Western Australia by many agricultural stores without an apparent replacement of the same. There have been potential damages to the environmental assets such as the great barrier rifts due to a clear runoff and the overall loss of top soils from a poor management of soil across Australia. In essence, this has been deemed to reduce the quality of water that often flows into lagoons.

Degradation, Acidification, Erosion, and Carbon Loss

It is therefore likely that the overall Australian community will have to adapt to a rather improved capture as well as the uses of soil water and improves the overall nutritional content of soil in an aim of reducing the over-reliance on the high requirements of the energy for the purpose of production of organic fertilizers. The agricultural industry will as well be expected to manage those soils that are kept in the stores so that more carbon can be maintained thus reducing the greenhouse effect gas emission like those that are associated with the fertilizer.

Primarily for many years now, there has been a direct expectation of the sustainability of food production and exportation by the Australian government. In this regards, there has been an intention of the provision of high-quality ecosystem services by the agricultural landscape. Some of this intention is to have a clean air as well as water, soil and the overall protection of the biodiversity as well as the protection the protection of the ecosystem. There is a need for a full insight by the agricultural authority in meeting the challenges facing the aspect of soil in Australia despite the fact that the region continues to produce world-class soil RD&E.

The site location is a hilly slope which has native vegetation such as the Eucalyptus loxophleba on a hilltop that was adjacent to the grazing area, with the presence of dolerite dikes intruded upward. The overall elevation of the land was approximate, 348m above the sea level. The percentage steep slope was at about 31%. The research studies us representing a place which has certainly granite gneiss together with some sort of dolerite dike. In essence, the area is considered as part of the ancient hydrological region in the Avon river catchment area. This is known to be the drainage system of the entire region.

It is no doubt that the entire area has a Mediterranean climate as it experiences a rather dry summer as well as cool winters. The area had a variety of temperature throughout the year. However, on the very day that that sample was collected, the area had a maximum temperature of about 19 °C. Additionally, the area experienced light rains during that morning sessions. The annual rainfall throughout the area is known to be about 445mm, where January mean is understood to be 11.3mm as well as 81.2mm in the month of July. The highest rainfall that is often recorded as being the highest is during the year was at about 116.9mm as well as 222.6mm.

Land Capability

Land capability maps

In essence, the land capability is the overall ability of a land to be in a position of sustaining a particular use and overcome a rather undesirable on-site or the off-site land degradation. In this case, the capability groups are assigned to the rating system of various soil profile collected in the field. The ranging groups of this study were assigned and identified as group7, group8, group9, group10, and group11 respectively.

New capabilities maps for the five profile groupings land usage in the Ridgefield farm have been created in this report and it includes all the necessary corrections.

Land capability assessment requires various ranges of qualified professionals from different disciplines. Apparently, LCA should have tertiary guidance and qualifications in a rather sort of disciplines such as the hydrogeology, science of soil, agricultural science, and geology to make sure that people are well conversant with the overall accessibility of land and how to maintain it for a proper and improved productivity across the globe. In this light, the land assessor has to have some specific strategies for determining all the attributes of a soil and make sure the goal is met during sampling of various soil factors (Vaudour & Shaw, 2017). In addition, the person who assess a land has to have a certain level of technical expertise as well as experience with a wide range of inter-disciplinary fields particularly in the wastewaters management as well as skills in the attribute of the interpretation of soil, sites as well as the climatic condition while still undertaking the balances between water and soil nutrients, selection and the design of an appropriate soil treatment plan. 

Primarily, considering the main goal at the end of land assessment strategy to define the inactive zones regarding water in the soil samples, present a sort of unique e topological mapping as well as a liniment on the pattern of water in the soil profile. This liniment is presented at about 1:60000 scale preparations exploiting a rather remotely gathered data yet giving an insight of the classification of the survey from the Western Australia geographic sheets. This, therefore, indicates that there is a chance of delineation of the base water in the soil with a potential outline throughout a certain measurements plan of a land assessment procedure.  

In the recent technological advancement, geographic information system has no doubt been rooted in being intellectual practices that have been populated by data as well as power by the aspect of mathematical analysis. A recent survey indicates that the main application of GIS is directed for various partial analyses, modeling regarded as predictable, visualization as well as cartography process. The GIS industry is considered one of the rapidly developing industries across the globe. GIS is preferred in land assessment study as it tends to map rather accurate locations and surveys coordinates of a particular object in space, therefore, providing various leads and answers to questions by the use of computer systems. In this light, GIS is then applied in the collection, storage, management, analyzing, and production of useful information. In other words, GIS is mostly used in the process of inputting various data together for the purpose of producing reliable information. Apparently, CAS tends to rely more on the kind of input of various historical records as well as utilizing the functionality of the modern GIS in the overall production of predictions and responses strategies for the world’s natural phenomena.

New Capability Maps

Land use map of  ‘Afternoon Group’ study area at UWA Ridgefield Farm

Despite the huge potential of the usage of GIS, there has been a problem regarding the overall means of assimilating universal roles and the clear influence that the technology has failed to keep up the pace with the contemporary development as and the ever-changing techniques. In this light, it is evident that the usage of the GIS has not hit its maximum potentiality since many users are not aware of the existence of a modern and integrated GIS in various conditions where spatial locations are required in the process of land mapping (Mrazova et al., 2017). The most desirable function of the GIS is its ability to input data using a set of selected attributes or rather selections of location meant for spatial analysis procedure in finding the interconnections between a given set of results. 

In essence, the soil is often analyzed in order to determine its overall ability to supply the possible necessary plant to a particular crop. Soil analysis is mostly related to the potential nutrient uptake as well as the supplementary of plants nutrients through variety of soil samples.

The following are some soil sampling processes that were written by the afternoon group in accordance with UWA Ridgefield farm paddock farming area. All the steps will be applied in all the situations throughout the process of soil sampling. The following are procedures for soil sampling.

  • One has to ask whether the law that is intended to be used applies rather accredited tests one wants to conduct. The lab should, therefore, have the National Association of Testing Authority Australia (NATA) as well as Australia soil and plant analysis.
  • The result gotten in this analysis and results achieved should be more consistent as well as comparable because the same results are used each time.
  • Different sampling patterns are applied in this state to come up with reliable results, particularly for soil sampling. Apparently, this included the sampling rather zigzag patterns throughout the paddock, walking all over the paddock across the field or rather sampling a small area that is in form of the typical paddock.
  • One should avoid small and atypical areas in the paddock including various changes in the soil type, fences lines, and waterlogs.
  • One has to keep on the process of sampling at least every year mostly when one is at least sure the soil moisture will be similar because the difference in soil moisture can have an impact on the results.
  • The samples are done every time the paddock is being sampled. This is because it is most difficult to compare results from samples that have come from different depths.
  • The soil samples have to be taken using tube sampler or rather a spade. In case there was the usage of an auger there should be enough care to avoid mixing the samples.
  • At last 50 individual cores should be collected for one to acquire a rather standard paddock.
  • The overall scores have to be spread out evenly along all transect. One should always make sure they avoid taking samples from where the samples are dug or pit patches.
  • The overall scores have to be collected into a clean bucket and then it should be mixed in a good way in clean plastic bags.
  • The samples should be well labeled and clear.
  • The samples should be kept cool.
  • If one is using a GPS one may wish to record the location that the individual cores are taken from as well as the correct location when a soil is sampled.

The soil risk assessment characters of soil have been developing for the quite some while in accordance with the land capability assessment framework. Every characteristic of soil are assessed in according to the level of constraint and, therefore, a qualitative analysis is provided of the level of risks in accordance with the following dataset.

  • Make sure you use at least 1-inch diameter soil probe to collect soil sample it should be about 6-8 inches in depth
  • This is done by following a zigzag and collect 10-20 soil cores as per a10-20 acres
  • Collect the core from areas that have similar soil types as well as the history
  • Dump cores from each other 10-20 acre area into a bucket and mix it
  • Place at least one pinch of the mixed soil samples bag plastic
  • Store the soil samples in a rather cool and dark place until shipping has taken place

Send the composite samples to a lab where the SCN analysis is done.

The PH of the surface soil was varied across different soil profiles that were collected. For instance, group 7 and group8 recoded very strong acidic levels while the same surface soil collected by group 9had no acidic levels. Additionally, the group recorded slightly lower acidic levels on the surface samples. Noteworthy, surface soil sample collected by group11 recorded moderate acidic levels.

The subsoils samples that were collected by group7 was found to be very strong acidic while the one collected by group 8 was strongly acidic. Group 9 subsoil sample was not acidic at all while group 10 and group 11 recorded slightly acidic subsoil.

The level or the capability of excavation of the land was determined by the soil samples collected. For instance, group 7, 8, and 9 found out the capability of soil excavation by their samples collected was all moderate. Group 10 found out that the capability of excavation of the soil samples collected in the study area was low while that of group 11 was recorded as being high.

While the soil samples collected by group 7 and 8 indicated no chance of being affected by flood hazard, samples of the soil collected by group 9 and 10 had a low chance of being affected by floods. However, samples of soils collected by group 11 indicated a moderate chance of being affected by floods.

The level of land instability level varied across all the soil samples collected by the five groups. In general, the land capability of the soils collected showed that it can be improved to increase its productivity.

In essence, capability review indicates that there is a rather broad area of land that is capable of supporting and producing a variety of crops. In this case, it is clear that water is the key enabler for the overall development of agricultural activities here and showcase different challenges for every location. It shows that improving the use of water is likely to improve the productivity of tee existing resources.

New capability maps for the 5 study areas were included in the review. The present alluvial terraces in the paddock adjacent to the sloppy land contained extensive areas with rather better soil profiles that were underlain by the presence of soil with the most moisture and was likely to support the agricultural activities in the farm.

Primarily, the foothills indicated a higher capability of farming. Nonetheless, due to the limitation of the water sources around this area, other crops that can sustain these conditions can be cultivated in this area.

Due to the apparent change in the overall land management techniques as week as the drying climatic conditions in the profiles that are found deeper and up hills, the areas of the paddock that were recently classified unsuited for the agricultural process could then show improving lad capability.  

High percentage of sand in top horizons, with the base B2.4 horizon having >50% clay content. Hydraulic conductivity will be relatively high in horizons with larger sand percentages, but much lower in horizons due to sharp increase in clay percentage.

Pingelly has a Mediterranean climate as it experiences dry summers and cool winters. On the day the profile was dug, Pingelly experienced 19 °C maximum temperature, with light rain throughout the morning. Pingelly’s annual mean rainfall is 445mm, with a January mean of 11.3mm and 81.2mm in July. The highest rainfall recorded in those months was 116.9mm and 222.6mm respectively.

As most of this vegetation had been cleared, the land use was allocated to grazing land. Much of the land in this area contains weeds e.g. paddy melon.

The area designated as SMU 9 at the UWA farm is a grazing paddock located on a gentle 6% slope. In the soil profile of SMU 9, it was found that the dominant soil is loamy sand in the A, B2.1, B2.2 and B2.3 horizons, with clay soil classified in the bottom B2.4 horizon. Gravel content was fairly consistent across each horizon with the content increasing gradually from 11.7% in the A horizon, to 16.6% in the B2.4 horizon. Water repellency was found to be negligible in each of the horizons. Organic C saw a sharp decrease between the A (1.71%) and B2.1 (0.44%) horizons, followed by gradual decrease with depth, until reaching the B2.4 horizon where a slight increase was recorded. Organic N followed a very similar path, a sharp decrease from A (0.11%) to B2.1 (0.04%) horizons, before a gradual decline followed by a slight increase. There was a sharp decline in electrical conductivity (EC) between the A horizon (229.5 μS/cm) and B2.1 horizon (30.3 μS/cm), before remaining relatively constant over the B2.2 and B2.3 horizons, until a sharp increase in the B2.4 horizon (98.4 μS/cm). The A horizon recorded a moderately acidic pH (4.8), with the pH following a relatively parabolic trend, increasing to a pH of 6.3 and 6.25 in the B2.2. and B2.3 horizons respectively, before decreasing to a more acidic pH of 5.86 in the B2.4 horizon. Extractable phosphorus (P) concentration drops from 101.587 mg/kg in the A horizon, to 54.093 mg/kg in the B2.1 horizon, followed by a gradual decline in concentration to  35.487 mg/kg in the B2.4 horizon. Extractable potassium (K), in comparison, is fairly constant across each of the soil horizons, with concentration ranging between 53.279 mg/kg and 58.07 mg/kg with no particular trend. CEC declined between the A (3.4 mequiv/100g)  and B2.1(2.4 mequiv/100g) horizons before decreasing to a minimum value (2.3 mequiv/100g) at the B2.2 horizon, before finally sharply increasing from the B2.3 horizon (2.4 mequiv/100g) to the B2.4 horizon (10.5 mequiv/100g). The concentration of calcium (Ca) follows a familiar trend, with a high concentration in the initial A horizon (2.6 cmol/100g), before dropping to a concentration of 1.5 cmol/100g in the B2.1 and B2.2 horizons, before decreasing further to 1 cmol/100g in the B2.3 horizon and finally rising again in the B2.4 horizon (1.8 cmol/100g). Magnesium (Mg) was fairly constant across each of its initial 4 horizons (A - B2.3), ranging between 0.4 - 0.6 cmol/100g, before sharply rising to 7.4 cmol/100g in the B2.4 horizon. Potassium (K) and Aluminium (Al) are both relatively constant, ranging between 0 - 0.1 cmol/100g and 0 - 0.2 cmol/100g respectively across each of the five soil horizons. Sodium (Na) has a relatively small drop between the A (0.4 cmol/100g) and B2.1 and B2.2 (0.1 cmol/100g) horizons, before a rise to 0.2 cmol/100g (B2.3 horizon), before a sharp increase in the B2.4 horizon (1 cmol/100g).

References

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Commonwealth of Australia (2014). Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/7d5f76fe-3128-44dd-bef1-f6fa008f686f/files/nggi-quarterly-update-mar-2014_0.pdf (Accessed April 10, 2018).

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