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Management units for agricultural soils

J.A. Mullins

Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Toowoomba. Qld 4350.

The efficient management of land is greatly facilitated if soils can be readily grouped into identifiable management units for which agricultural and soil conservation requirements are defined. This information is not readily obtained from commonly available soil series or land system maps, due to the scales of mapping and form of presentation.

A project was commenced in 1973 to identify the groups of soil series/ phases of the eastern Darling Downs which had similar management requirements. A representative area of approximately 10000 ha was selected for each land system and the soil series/phases then identified. The management requirements, including nutrient status, crop yield and soil conservation practices, were examined. Those soil series/phases with similar management requirements were grouped into Agricultural Management Units.

Table 1 shows that for the eastern Darling Downs, 35 Agricultural Management Units were derived from a total of more than 85 soil series/phases of the four major land systems of the region.

TABLE l. Soil series/phases and Agricultural Management Units (A.M.U.) for four land systems in the eastern Darling Downs.

Results of this study are presented in a comprehensive handbook (Mullins 1978) which provides colour soil photographs, profile descriptions and keys to aid in the recognition of various Agricultural Management Units. Recommended management for crop and pasture production and for soil erosion control is also included with provision for updating.

The availability of this information in this format provides a sound and practical basis for agricultural research, extension and management.

Mullins, J.A. (1978) Tech. Bull. Div. Ld. Util. Qd. Dep. Prim. Inds. No. 33.

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