Tips to minimise erosion and retain topsoil

You soil is a valuable resources for your land. So let's keep it where it belongs – under your feet, not in creeks, neighbours blocks or across the countryside.

Some quick tips include:

  • Ground vegetation should provide at least 70 per cent groundcover at all times (50 per cent in semi-arid areas).
  • Groundcover should be as high as possible at all times, especially around riparian areas or steep slopes.
  • Rotate your activities to rest the land and maintain continuous grass cover in grazing paddocks.
  • Plant windbreaks and establish native plants along creeks and farm roads to help filter out sediment and nutrients.
  • Protect and enhance existing native bushland. When choosing plants, consider species that are native to your area. It’s worth joining the local Landcare group.
  • Cultivate and plant along contour lines, not up slopes. Don’t cultivate steeply sloping land. Where possible, leave a vegetated strip 10–30 m wide alongside rivers and creeks which will help slow water runoff, reduce soil loss and maintain bank stability. Construct access roads along the contour on gentle slopes wherever possible and avoid wet areas. In semi-arid areas, ensure earthworks from roads, fencelines or other linear clearing do not concentrate sheet runoff flows. Minimise linear windrows of soil that divert flows.
  • Find out about your land’s capabilities. The Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment - Environment, Energy and Science (EES) group defines eight classes of land, based on its suitability for particular activities. Best you don’t plough land that is in classes five to eight.
  • Search ‘soil capability’ at

Read more in the Rural Living Handbook.