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Topics > Soil and land management > Soil health and condition

Land manager knowledge and practices

For a full understanding of the condition and management of the land it is important to assess the land managers' knowledge and application of sustainable production techniques.

While some information is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Agricultural Census and related surveys, DEW has developed a telephone survey to collect specific information from agricultural land managers.

The survey gathers information about their understanding of key soil and land management issues and the practices they use to manage them. The trends in the responses are useful indicators of current and future land condition. The land management practices trends identified in these surveys have also provided evidence for other observed soil condition monitoring trends. For example, according to data from these surveys, the percentage area of dryland agricultural crops sown using no-till methods in South Australia increased from 16% in 1999 to 83% in 2016. Over this period, data from DEW’s field surveys showed there has been a substantial improvement in the average protection of agricultural land from the risk of soil erosion. Much of this change is most likely due to the uptake of no-till and stubble retention methods.

For these surveys, one thousand commercial agricultural land managers, 200 from each of the five main agricultural regions of South Australia, were randomly selected to participate. A baseline survey was commissioned in 2000 using an experienced market research company to collect and analyse the data. Follow-up surveys were conducted in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017.

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Land manager knowledge and practices
Source: Mary-Anne Young - PIRSA