What is APSoil?
APSoil is a database of soil water characteristics enabling estimation of Plant Available Water Capacity for individual soils and crops. It covers many cropping regions of Australia and is regularly updated. It is designed for use in simulation modelling and agronomic practice.
APSoil enables the user to:
- View individual soil and crop species data in spreadsheet and graphical formats
- Develop personal APSoil directories of locally relevant soils
- Modify soils to fit local conditions eg sub-soil constraints
- Check soil files for APSIM compatibility
- Run the APSIM model using soils developed within APSoil
Click here to download the latest APSoil database. (23.4M – version 3.36, 25th Mar 2021)(once it is saved you can open the .soils file using the APSoil application [see above for download] or add it as a Toolbox in APSIM.)
A paper providing background on APSoil can be accessed here
Estimating Plant Available Water Capacity – A Methodology
As part of GRDC Projects Training growers to manage soil water (CSA00011) and Measuring and managing soil water in Australian agriculture (CSP00170) research organisations, consultants and farmers across six Australian states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia) were involved with training activities associated with the management of soil water and in the characterisation of soils for Plant Available Water Capacity (PAWC). This document (PDF – 1Mb) written by Lawrence Burk and Neal Dalgliesh and published by GRDC provides practitioners with practical information, methodologies and tools for the characterisation of PAWC with the aim of ensuring consistency across regions.
To download the datasheets referenced in the above document click here (69Kb)
A detailed field protocol that provides helpful hints and assists in collection of supporting information is available here.
A protocol that assists with the development of APSoil parameter estimations is available here.
A more detailed version of the datasheets referenced in the field protocol and parameter estimation document is available here.
This manual comprises a set of modules that provide background information on, and describe the best practice in, soil monitoring. The simple explanation of soil and plant processes enables the results of soil monitoring to be used with confidence to achieve more profitable and sustainable crop management. This handbook provides a simple explanation of the key soil processes as a basis for learning, and practical guidance when making soil measurements to aid decision-making. In APSRU our experience with on-farm collaborative research has highlighted many issues for which a ready source of reference would be valuable.
The Soil Matters handbook is intended to fill this need, whilst providing references to sources of more detailed information.
Compiled by N.P. Dalgliesh and M.A. Foale
Regional case studies evaluating PAWC characterisations in a soil-landscape context
Soil and landscape resources to assist with PAWC estimation
- eSPADE v2.0 (soil-landscape and land systems mapping and reports, reports on soil characterisation sites and DSM predictions): http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/eSpade2Webapp
(Select ‘Soil landscapes’ or ‘Soil and land resources’, ‘Soil Profiles’, or ‘Modelled soil properties’ from menu on right and zoom into the area of interest after selecting ‘Hybrid’ as Base map)
- Queensland Globe (LRA maps and more): https://qldglobe.information.qld.gov.au/
(Select ‘Add Layers’, then choose ‘Land resource area mapping’ and/or ‘Soil mapping and sites’ under ‘Geoscientific information’ and zoom into the area of interest)
- Queensland Land resources assessment manuals from: https://publications.qld.gov.au/dataset?q=land+managament+manual
- SoilMapp (soil maps, soil characterisation, archive and APSoil sites): Apple iPad and Android app; documentation: https://confluence.csiro.au/display/soilmappdoc/SoilMapp+Home
- Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia: http://www.clw.csiro.au/aclep/soilandlandscapegrid/ or in the TERN data portal: https://www.tern.org.au/
Scoping studies documenting available soil information to support prediction of PAWC
GRDC Project CSP00210 has undertaken three reviews of available soil and landscape information that could be used for mapping PAWC to soil landscapes and predicting PAWC at the farm management scale.
Taking soil samples
A short video has been produced demonstrating how to take soil cores using a simple manual extraction method.
Soil Water Express
A tool to generate approximate soil water characteristics and estimates of available soil water (in millimeters) from field based soil water logging devices can be downloaded here.
SoilMapp for iPad: Soil Information at Your Fingertips
Find out what’s beneath your feet with SoilMapp which taps into the best available soil information from Australia’s national soil databases. You can find out about the likely types of soil near you or you can look anywhere across the country. Discover the soil’s secrets, how it holds water, its clay content, acidity and other attributes related to agricultural productivity and land management. Australia’s soils are one of the country’s most valuable natural assets, critical to sustainable food production, biodiversity conservation, water quality and human health. Having access to the best available soil and land information assists improved land management decisions, sustaining Australia’s soils into the future.
SoilMapp for iPad enables you to:
- learn about the likely soil types on your property
- view maps, photographs, satellite images, tables and graphs of data about nearby soils
- uncover your soil’s physical and chemical characteristics, including acidity (pH), soil carbon, available water storage, salinity and erodibility
- get soil information to put into the farm computer model APSIM, a model that can help with management decisions on crops and project likely crop yields
- access the app anywhere there is wireless or internet connection to your iPad.
See www.csiro.au/soilmapp for more information.
SoilMapp for iPad is now available from the Apple App Store.
Recent GRDC Update papers relating to PAWC and APSoil
Verburg K, Thomas M, Cocks B, Austin J, Glover M, Stockmann U, Deery D, Gallant J, Whish J, Lynch B, Dougall C (2020) Using existing soil and landscape data sources to estimate plant available water capacity (PAWC) for decision-making and crop resourcing (with Central Queensland examples) (GRDC North Online Update)
Cocks B, Stockmann U, Deery D, Austin J, Glover M, Thomas M, Gallant J, Schwenke G, Manning W, Verburg K (2020) Using plant available water (PAW) to inform decision-making and crop resourcing: What to do when you do not have a PAWC characterisation on-site (GRDC Update Mullaley)
Verburg K, Cocks B, Stockmann U, Thomas M, Austin J, Glover M, Gallant J (2020) Using plant available water (PAW) to inform decision-making and crop resourcing: What to do when you do not have a PAWC characterisation on-site? (GRDC Update Goondiwindi)
Thomas M, Cocks B, Stockmann U, Glover <, Austin J, Gallant J, Verburg K (2019) Measuring and predicting plant available water capacity (PAWC) to drive decision-making and crop resourcing: extrapolating data in the Central Darling Downs from limited site numbers across paddocks helped by soil-landscape understanding (GRDC Update Dalby)
Thomas M, Cocks B, Verburg K (2019) Measuring and predicting plant available water capacity (PAWC) to drive decision-making and crop resourcing: ways to estimate PAWC in the data limited Surat, Qld area (GRDC Update Surat)
Verburg K, Stockmann U, Cocks B, Manning B, Austin J, Glover M, Thomas M, Gallant K (2018) Soil water – methods to predict plant available water capacity (PAWC) using soil-landscape associations (GRDC Update Gunnedah)
Verburg K, Glover M, Minehan C, van Rees H, Jackman A, McClelland T, Dalgliesh N, Hunt J, Cocks B, Henry S, Oliver Y, Thomas M, Mowat D, Caldwell L, Hall A (2015) Soil characteristics and Yield Prophet® for better decisions. (GRDC Update Wagga Wagga)