Soils and water
In our New Zealand climate, from mid Autumn to spring precipitation usually exceeds evapotranspiration, leading to a downward movement of water through the soil. This means elements are ‘lost’ to the groundwater rather than accumulating within the soil like in hotter and drier climates. We therefore need to match our soil inputs with plant requirements if we want to avoid negative ‘off-site’ effects of land management.
Manaaki Whenua’s soil mapping efforts across New Zealand pay special attention to soil physical properties such as e.g. soil texture, soil structure, or hard pans encountered. These all have an impact on how much water a soil can store, how water moves through the soil, and on what potentially constitutes wise soil management at a particular site or within a given area. Our S-map Online platform provides these soil observations, plus other soil water-related characteristics such as field capacity, wilting point, and profile available water (PAW).
Some examples of our activities in this space are:
Strengthening the science that underpins New Zealand's soil information system.
The NextGen S-map programme will provide cost-effective mapping, as well as fit-for-purpose, multi-scale soil information.
Our Land and Water National Science Challenge
The 11 National Science Challenges focus science investment on issues that matter to all New Zealanders.
Maximising value from irrigation
Developing and testing soil and crop sensor technologies
A collaborative programme to address the challenge of creating new irrigation scheduling and management systems at the paddock scale.