TIA has consistently maintained strong capability and activity in soil science across all of its industry centres.
The disciplines of pedology (soil formation and distribution in the landscape) and the physics, chemistry and biology of soil have been vital to the impact of much of TIA’s research, development and extension (RD&E).
Results of this RD&E have increased scientific knowledge and understanding and helped farmers to optimise their returns while minimising their impacts on land and water quality. Examples include optimising fertiliser management in grazing, horticultural and cropping systems; modelling soil carbon and managing its effects on productivity and on soil structure and fertility; quantifying and modelling water movement and water use efficiency, irrigation management; soil erosion control; and monitoring and managing soil-borne diseases. The majority of TIA’s soils projects deal with Tasmanian soils and farming systems, but staff are also engaged in national and international work.
TIA presently has three full-time soil scientists with specific expertise in soil physics, soil water, pedology, soil fertility and soil management. These staff collaborate with agronomists, horticulturists and plant pathologist in TIA and other agencies to make sure that TIA’s soils RD&E is at the cutting edge and is targeted to address relevant issues.
Staff supervise masters and PhD students in soils, producing not just high quality research, but also a steady supply of well-trained professionals. Soil science is of course also taught at undergraduate level.
Download Dr Bill Cotching's excellent book: Soil Health For Farming In Tasmania