WESTERN Australian growers and agriculture industry representatives can access the latest information about soil fertility and soilborne diseases in a new digital publication Soil Quality: 5 Soil Biology.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and SoilsWest - a research partnership between The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) - worked together to publish the free ebook.
Soil Quality: 5 Soil Biology is the fifth in a series of ebooks produced by SoilsWest, which focuses on soil quality for WA and includes current knowledge on best practice soil techniques in an easy-to-navigate format.
SoilsWest director and co-author of the book, UWA associate professor Frances Hoyle, said the publication would appeal to students, growers, consultants and academics.
"There is a growing interest in the role of microorganisms in the soil that support key functions which underpin agriculture and other land related activities," professor Hoyle said.
"Soil is the building-blocks of what we eat, so for the agriculture sector to continue to thrive, it is important to explore ways to maintain and enhance our soil for future generations."
UWA professor Daniel Murphy said the ebook outlined the multifunctional role of soil and its inhabitants.
"It includes information on beneficial and disease-causing organisms and the influence of the environment and management on soil habitats which impacts soil production and resilience," professor Murphy said.
"The book features short videos and audio from consultants, farmers and research scientists about soil biology and regional perspectives on soilborne diseases and nematode pests."
GRDC manager agronomy, soil and farming systems west Dr Rowan Maddern, said the ebook series was created in response to grower and industry demand for a platform that enabled them to read, listen and view soil management information from any location, including the tractor.
"Topics covered by the ebooks, including those in the pipeline, cover a number of priority areas addressed in the GRDC current and previous investments in soil and nutrition management in WA," Dr Maddern said.
"A highlight of the book design is that it includes not only research information about soil, but evidence-based industry and landholder perspectives of soil management challenges and solutions."
DPIRD soil science and crop nutrition portfolio manager Chris Gazey said the new publication would add further value to the SoilsWest ebook series, which included Soil Quality: 1 Constraints to Plant Production, 2 Integrated Soil Management, 3 Soil Organic Matter and 4 Soil Acidity.
"This series provides a legacy of information from past and current investments by the GRDC, DPIRD and UWA, as well as contributions from Murdoch University and the CSIRO, with future ebooks to cover soil water repellence, compaction, alkaline and sodic soil, soil nutrition and gravel soil," Mr Gazey said.
The Soil Quality: 5 Soil Biology ebook is available at no cost via Apple Books, along with the first four publications in the series.
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