A herd of cattle.

Betting on the farm to feed the planet

Australia agricultural feeds 60 million people globally, but maintaining this level of production against a backdrop of increasing population, climate change impacts, land degradation and the finite supply of productive soils, is proving to be a major challenge. (6:58)

  • 4 August 2010 | Updated 24 November 2011

The player will show in this paragraph

Almost all Australian soils are geological old and infertile and face specific issues related to soil degradation including acidification and erosion.

Food production relies on healthy soils, adequate nutrients, and committed farmers and land managers.

Despite great improvements in crop production, Australia faces specific issues related to soil degradation.

As many as 25 million hectares are affected by acidity and large areas have unsustainable rates of soil erosion.

While land management practices have improved substantially in recent decades, we do not have accurate figures on the extent of the problems and current rates of change in soil condition.

In this podcast Dr Neil McKenzie, Chief of CSIRO's Land and Water, talks about the history of Australian soils, the improvements that have been made in recent years and the opportunities to improve our soils.

Read more about the International soil conference opens in Brisbane.