ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

CRC for High Performance Soils: I.2.003 Collaborative approaches to Innovation. (2019-2020)


Soil CRC


Dr Nick Pawsey (CI) (CSU), Associate Professor Catherine Allan (CSU), Dr Francisco Ascui (UTAS), Professor Geoff Cockfield (USQ), Professor Simon Cook (Murdoch), Associate Professor Mark Frost (CSU), Associate Professor Julia Lynch (CSU), Dr Ben Wills (FedUni) and Dr Alfred Wong (CSU)

Research theme

Rural and Regional Communities


Across Australia’s agricultural sector, a significant percentage of soils are constrained in one way or another. As effective soil management practices can help to manage these constraints, many farmers are adopting innovative soil management practices and working to better understand soil health.

A key challenge to the adoption of innovative soil management practices, however, is that the financial returns from the practices are not always clear to farmers and the finance industry.

The collaborative project focused on improving the understanding of the relationship between soil health and financial performance identifying potential financial incentives to reward good soil stewardship.

The project involved a series of workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Toowoomba. Over 50 participants from the grower, banking, valuation, corporate advisory, conservation, and research sectors identified leverage points for driving the activation of financial markets to reward soil stewardship, from which a research agenda to facilitate activation was co-established. Various pathways, including the improved use of soil information as part of agricultural lending and land valuation decisions, were considered.

Workshop participants from the banking and valuation industry recognised potential legitimacy and operational benefits from improved access to soil data and scientific evidence regarding impact of soil stewardship on soil health, productivity and profitability. They suggested that to support bank risk assessments and land valuation requirements: 1) evidence based on appropriate spatial and time-horizons, communicated in terms relevant and understandable to industry, and 2) significant efforts to connect the financial, agricultural and research ‘worlds’ are required.


Pawsey, N., Wills, B., Ascui, F., Allan, C., Colliver, R., Cockfield, G., Cook, S., Frost, M., Lynch, J., & Wong, A. (2021). Principles of Collaboration in Soil Research. Fact sheet prepared for Soil CRC.

Higgins, V., Leith, P., & Allan, C. (2021). A framework for assessing adoptability of practices and technologies by farmers to improve soil performance. Fact sheet prepared for Soil CRC.


While the focus of this project was on identifying financial incentives to reward good soil stewardship, insights from this project have informed the development of a collaborative design framework to further facilitate the process of engaging farmers and other stakeholders in the activities of the Soil CRC. This framework will be applied to a new project: Activating financial markets to reward soil stewardship.  Pawsey, N., Oczkowski, E., Lynch, J., Frost, M., Coghlan, I., Allan, C., Nayeem, T. (2020-2023) CRC for High Performance Soils, $ 355,000


Dr Nick Pawsey, Albury-Wodonga campus


March 2021