Planning Your Property


Here we are talking about the natural features of the landscape the soil and climate that constrain what uses are possible on a property.  There are two important terms:

‘Land capability’ which provides a measure of what level of production land can continue to provide without causing soil and fertility loss and a lowering of yields.   This is the potential of the land.


‘Land suitability’ is a measure of how suitable a site is for a particular crop, or tree, or pasture type. Suitability is based on soil characteristics and other environmental factors, particularly local climate.


Property Planning – Step by Step
Most property planning follows a logical number of steps:

1. Start with a Vision
2. Collect the relevant data
3. Make a plan
4. Carry out your plan
5. Monitor to see how well your plan has worked (or otherwise)
6. Refine the plan and make adjustments.

1. Start with a Vision
Ask yourselves the questions:
‘How will this property look in 5 to 10 years’ time?’
‘What will we have achieved on the property in 5 to 10 years’ time?’
‘How will we have changed this property – and this property have changed us - in the next 5 to 10 years?’ Having a vision shared by all the owners is essential to have everyone moving in the same direction. Imagine the chaos if owners were independently working towards different, conflicting visions! So, get the shared vision straight and fixed.

2. Collect the relevant data
What’s relevant will be coloured by your ‘vision’ for the property. The data will include physical items relating to the property (landscape, soils, rainfall), items related to your chosen land uses, and, if commercial, financial items (costs, markets, returns). Remember that these may include licenses and official approvals.

3. Make a plan
This will consist of a series of goals. Each of these should be specific, manageable, achievable, realistic and have a time frame. (Sometimes these are addressed as SMART goals.) In addition, you will generally require a budget and should identify who is going to do the work (you, you and a party of friends, a contractor).

4. Carry out the plan
Different jobs are best done in particular seasons. For instance, fencing is best not done in summer and autumn when conditions are hot and the ground is dry and hard; fencing is best done in cooler weather when the ground is softer, in winter or spring. Weeds are best sprayed at the most vulnerable part of their life cycle (often as they are about to flower). So, plan and carry out your work according to the seasons. Carry out your plan in a logical order to avoid wasting funds and having to repeat work that was done too early in the plan.

5. Monitor to see how well your plan has worked

Monitoring is important to show whether the funds, time and effort you have put into developing your property has been worthwhile and is working as you intended. Also, monitoring can alert you to any problem that needs urgent attention, and so is useful and important for that reason. Monitoring should be practical, accurate, based on measurements [where possible] that are easy to analyse, and ideally should be a fun thing to do. It could be based on photography – re-photographing the same site annually or maybe setting up night vision cameras to record ‘visits’ by native animals or feral pests.

6. Refine the plan and make adjustments
Your monitoring will indicate where improvements might be made.

press to zoom
Basket of Organic Vegetables
press to zoom
press to zoom

Some Soil Analysis Laboratories
No recommendation should be assumed for laboratories included on this list. Similarly, any omissions to the list should not be inferred as being inferior in any way.

APAL PO Box 327, Magill, SA 5072

Tel: 08 8332 0199

Agro-Nutritional Research Laboratory 38, Clark Court, Bibra Lake, WA 6163

Tel: 9248 4331 / 9418 5333

Agro-Nutritional Research Laboratory 2/15 Vale St, Malaga, WA 6090

Tel: 9248 2919

Southwest Soil and Aggregate Laboratory Lot 2, North Boyanup Road, Bunbury

Tel: 9725 4243
Mob: 0407 903 297‎

C-Wise (Previously Custom Compost) 139, Nambellup Road, Nambellup

Tel: 9581 9582

Geotech Soils & Aggregate Laboratory 55, Forrest Avenue,South Bunbury

Tel: 9721 6255

South West Chemical Services 6 Clare Row, College Grove, WA, 6230

Tel: 9792 4681 / 9795 9821
Mob: 0417 149 645

Environmental & Agricultural Testing Services 5/4 Mummery Cres, Bunbury

Tel: 9721 7170

ChemCentre PO Box 1250 Bentley WA 6983

Tel: (08) 9422 9800

CSBP Soil & Plant Analysis Service 2 Altona St, Bibra Lake, WA 6163

Tel: 9434 4600