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During 1999-2009, soil testing for sulfur (S) was undertaken on 48 paddocks at the Vasse Research Centre (VRC) at Busselton, in the south-west of Western Australia (WA).

Paddocks had been grazed intensively by dairy cows and their young stock over a period of 10 years, as part of the Vasse Milk Farmlets and Greener Pastures farming system projects. Pasture consisted of annual ryegrasses with some subterranean clover. Soils in the 48 paddocks were 1-2 m sand to sandy loam over massive clay, known locally as Abba sand. For many soils in the region, including Abba sands, the topography is flat and the soils are waterlogged from June to early September in the typical May to November growing season.

Samples of the top 10 cm of soil were collected from each paddock in April 1999 and January- February 2000-2009, during the dry period before fertiliser was applied. These are the standard sampling depth and sampling time for soil sampling of dryland pastures in WA.

Soil samples were collected while walking on the same diagonal path across each paddock each year between two permanent markers located on fences. Samples were collected using 2.5 cm diameter metal tubes (10 cm long; known locally as pogos) that were pushed into the soil by foot every 2-3 m, with 50-100 samples collected per paddock, depending on the size of the paddock.

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Soil testing, Plant analysis, Pastures, Grassland management, Dairy farming, Western Australia


Plant Sciences | Soil Science


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Greener pastures 5 - Managing sulphur in dairy pastures