Warning over Marlborough’s soil quality

A soil scientist in New Zealand has warned that the soil quality across Marlborough is in a “gradual” state of decline.

Matt Oliver, soil scientist with the Marlborough District Council, has said that the overuse of fertilisers, cultivation and compaction is leading to a lack of nutrients and loss of organic matter across the region’s farming sectors.

He said that the decline was not so severe “we all need to panic” but “we do need to take some kind of action about it”.

The soil was described as “adequate” at present and declines were gradual but the trends were now proving long term over several recent studies from the last 20 years.

As reported by NZ website Stuff, the problems of soil compaction were particularly pronounced in vineyards due to the use of tractors.

On the other hand, Oliver said that the problem was not unique to Marlborough, the solutions were more than manageable “if we do the right things” and an increasing number of farmers were asking about what they could do to counter the problems.

Councils in New Zealand are required to monitor and report on soil quality under the Resource Management Act in order to see if contemporary farming methods were sustainable.

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