Agraforum New Zealand Addresses Soil Management Challenges in the South Island

Agraforum New Zealand, a key player in agricultural consultancy, focuses on the varied landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island, which present unique challenges and opportunities for soil management. The region’s predominant sedimentary soils, derived from greywacke and other sedimentary rocks, are distinct from the volcanic soils found in the North Island. These sedimentary soils, especially prevalent in areas like Canterbury, play a central role in the island’s dairy farming operations.

These soils in the South Island typically feature lower organic matter levels, with carbon content generally ranging between 3-5%. Agraforum New Zealand recognises the susceptibility of these soils to degradation, particularly due to their finer and less robust structure. “The structural challenges of sedimentary soils make them prone to compaction, significantly impacting their fertility and the productivity of our farms,” notes Dr Gordon Rajendram, a leading soil science expert working alongside Agraforum NZ.

The intensive agricultural practices common across the South Island, including continuous dairy farming and cropping, often exacerbate soil degradation. The frequent use of chemical fertilisers, such as Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) and ammonium sulphate, leads to soil acidification, which in turn diminishes soil quality. “Such practices disrupt the microbial life within the soil, which is vital for sustaining soil health and fertility,” explains Dr Rajendram.

One of Agraforum NZ’s testing locations

Despite these challenges, the South Island’s diverse soil types, including loess in some regions, offer significant agricultural potential beyond traditional dairy farming. These fine, wind-blown silt particles are particularly well-suited for viticulture and certain types of horticulture, industries where the South Island has carved a niche.

Committed to promoting sustainable soil management practices, Agraforum New Zealand advocates strategies such as crop rotation, reduced tillage, and the strategic use of soil tests and analysis to maintain or improve soil health. By adopting these sustainable practices, Agraforum aims to ensure the longevity and productivity of the agricultural lands, preserving the unique soil landscape of New Zealand’s South Island for future generations.

Contact Agraforum NZ

Mobile: 0274 485 159

Contact Phillip Quay
P: 0274 587 724

In Other News