This project helps farmers to improve soil health and farm sustainability by addressing issues ranging from soil acidification to declining carbon. Our innovative agricultural extension program builds technical knowledge in soil management.


The agricultural industry generates over $1 billion a year for our rural communities. The Wet Tropics is known for its sugar cane, banana and grazing land but crops also range from tropical fruits and root vegetables to corn, peanuts, coffee, cocoa and tea.

This project is helping our important primary industries adapt to the changing climate and build resilience to extreme droughts and floods.


Terrain NRM’s ‘Digging Deeper Plus’ soil health program is led by agricultural-ecologist David Hardwick and North Queensland regenerative farmer Simon Mattsson. The course includes:

  • Skills training with expert facilitators to learn how to read soil tests, identify root causes of poor soil health and implement solutions
  • Peer-to-peer networking and learning opportunities
  • Free soil tests and individual support to develop soil management plans customised to each participant’s farm.


This five-year project is supported by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Achievements so far 

  • Two six-month courses completed and another beginning soon
  • 27 farming businesses graduated in 2018/19
  • 20 farming businesses are involved in 2019/20
  • Interest in soil health has grown substantially in this region
  • The first participants (in 2015) formed a ‘Wet Tropics Soilcare’ group – a partner in the current program. its membership is steadily growing.

Join our 2020-21 Digging Deeper Plus soil health course

You and your family members can be part of the upcoming Digging Deeper Plus course. It includes six soil health training days over a six-month period (soil pits, farms visits etc.), plus support to help you develop a soil action plan.

Applications close on Monday 19 October 2020.
For more information, see the Expressions of Interest Document.


Banana Growers Dig into Soil Health

Banana Growers Dig into Soil Health

Soil Template 1 MIP
Soil health principles and successes presented to growers at South Johnstone workshop
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Fallow Crops Help Reduce Fertiliser Rates

Fallow Crops Help Reduce Fertiliser Rates

Soil Water Template 1
Soy bean and sunflower fallow crops reap rewards for Innisfail cane farming family
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Network of Soil Health Coaches Planned

Network of Soil Health Coaches Planned

Soil Template 1
Farmers put their hand up to help peers adopt soil health-based farming systems
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