Virtual soil pits give EP farmers a deeper understanding of sandy soils

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PHOTO: Farmers get an up-close look at the Ungarra soil pit featured online on Soil Hub.

For the first time, Eyre Peninsula farmers can get a close-up look at soils across their region from the comfort of their home office or ute cab.

Three local soil pits at Ungarra, Cummins and Mt Damper have undergone profiling and analysis, with data presented through 3D modelling, 360 imagery and video, creating virtual soil pit experiences online via Soil Hub.

Soil Hub gives farmers across SA and Victoria direct access to virtual soil pits in their areas, giving them a closer look at the pit face, and allowing them to examine pH levels, water repellence data, and evaluate soil strength – all without having to travel for a field day.

AIR EP Executive Officer Naomi Scholz said the virtual pits and the online Soil Hub would provide a valuable resource for farmers, especially with the addition of the local sites.

“The Soil Hub and the virtual soil pits will take farmers right to the site and allows them to see up close the soil profile and any challenges facing that particular soil type,” Ms Scholz said.

“Sandy soils in particular are a real challenge on the EP. By taking a look at the virtual pits, and the analysis of those sites, farmers can compare what they’re seeing online with what they’re dealing with on a daily basis in their own paddocks.

“The expert-led videos and extra online resources then provide a whole toolbox of additional information and advice for how to manage these soils which farmers can apply to their own farming practices to improve soil management and increase yields.

“We know farmers in our area get so much out of field days and site visits – but we also know that travel is a barrier to accessing these events. By providing these resources online, farmers can access the information from wherever they are, at any time.”

The Soil Hub began with virtual sites in Victoria and South Australia from Kooloonong to Bute. The addition of the three EP sites provides more in-depth, localised information for farmers on SA’s West Coast.

Combining cutting-edge 360-degree video views and 3D modelling of soil pits with expert-led videos and linked resources, the Soil Hub aims to give farmers a deeper understanding of their sandy soils and assist them in making informed decisions to optimise farming practices and increase yields.

The Eyre Peninsula Virtual Soil Pits have been developed through the project ‘Building drought resilience by scaling out farming practices that will enhance the productive capacity of sandy soil landscapes’, which is led by AIR EP and has been funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Grains Research & Development Corporation, and is supported by the SA Drought Resilience and Adoption Hub.

Explore the Soil Hub online at For more information about AIR EP or to become a member, visit the website at AIR EP.

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