To establish a base-line soil quality Mark Redshaw took soil samples in winter for testing by Hill Laboratories. These showed generally good fertility.
At the end of September, Dan Bloomer (LandWISE) and James Powrie (HBRC) completed Visual Soil Assessments. We took the samples on Tuesday before a significant rain event and stored them in the shed until Friday when we had time to assess them. The soil was relatively wet, possibly influencing the scores.
We used Graham Shepherd’s VSA methodology to assess structure, porosity, colour, mottling, worms and clod development. We did not detect tillage pans in the field when taking the sample spits, and erosion is not an issue at our site. You can down load more from the main LandWISE website. More on assessing soil condition here, and a VSA summary sheet here>
Five of the six micro-paddocks showed good physical condition. Block 4 was notably poorer with clear evidence of compaction from vehicle traffic. This is perhaps unsurprising, as the Block is the first inside the gate through which all tractors and trucks enter the fields.
Images of the six Block samples and another sample taken under the fence line are shown in this picture gallery.