Facts & Resources

Australian soils are not necessarily poor

Soil profile collage Soil Management Designs

Yes, much of the Australian landscape is underlain by ancient rock, but the associated soils are not necessarily poor

Did you know?

In the NSW Central Tablelands, some of the richest soil for agriculture is found on ancient volcanic rocks and limestone deposited over 400 million years ago. Referred to as Ordovician Volcanics, they extend northwards from around Blayney through Orange and up to the north of Wellington.

The poorest soil in the region is derived from much younger sedimentary rocks and granite.

Therefore, be wary of the clichés about Australian soil being poor because of old age. Focus instead on parent material composition rather than age of the rocks when predicting soil fertility.

Parent rocks and associated soils of the region

Source: McEwen S (2018) ‘Paddock to Plate: a history of food and wine in Orange and district’ (Orange Regional Museum), page 10.

Below is a photo of a high-quality agricultural soil in Central NSW formed on basic volcanic rock more than 400 million years old.

photo of a high-quality agricultural soil in Central NSW

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