SA Strategic Plan Target 70: Sustainable land management
The department has a lead role in ensuring we meet target 70 (sustainable land management) of South Australia’s Strategic Plan: by 2020, achieve a 25% increase in the protection of agricultural cropping land from soil erosion and a 25% improvement in the condition of pastoral land.
The total area of agricultural cropping land in South Australia (known as the wheat/sheep zone) is approx 8.14 million hectares. Of this, approximately 5.2 million hectares (64%) are susceptible to wind erosion and 2.4 million hectares (30%) are susceptible to water erosion. Erosion of agricultural land reduces productivity as well as impacting on the environment.
Meeting target 70 of South Australia's Strategic Plan requires a significant increase in the adoption of improved farming practices across the broadacre agricultural area of SA. This is needed to address existing threats to sustainable land use from soil erosion, as well as the threats posed by increasing temperatures and reduced growing season rainfall under climate change. This requires the development and maintenance of strong linkages with other government agencies; agricultural sectors (such as the Advisory Board of Agriculture) and Natural Resources Management (NRM) Boards.
One of the major programs to support the South Australia's Strategic Plan Soil Protection Target is the department's Sustainable Dryland Agriculture Initiative.
Sustainable Dryland Agriculture Initiative
The Sustainable Dryland Agriculture Initiative is funded through the State Natural Resources Management (NRM) Program. Through this initiative, partnership projects have been developed with farming industry organisations and the Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, and SA Murray Darling Basin NRM boards. The industry collaborators include the Advisory Board of Agriculture, Agriculture Excellence Alliance, SA No-Till Farmers Association and Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
The projects focus on improved soil protection through adoption of stubble retention and no-till, improved grazing management, claying sandy soils and understanding groundcover trigger points used in decision making.
The department collates and analyses data from a range of sources to monitor and report on trends in the condition of soil and land in the agricultural areas of SA. The monitoring of soil and land condition provides the department with a scientific basis to inform and contribute to natural resources management policy and encourage sustainable agriculture practices.
Find out more about the department's soil and land condition trends monitoring.