piglet credit Christopher Carson-Unsplash 2000px
piglet credit Christopher Carson-Unsplash 2000px

Completed project:

Spraying Pork Effluent Onto Farm Soil


Project Lead: Federation University, including researchers from the University of Melbourne

pigs in paddock credit Pascal Debrunner-Unsplash LR
Image credit: Pascal Debrunner | Unsplash // Top image credit: Christopher Carson | Unsplash

Focus area: Soil ­– understanding the soil-health impacts of effluent applied to the soil surface

Background and goal: Anecdotally, spraying effluent on the soil surface is believed to be common practice for composting manure and solids, but no quantitative data was available in Australia. Australian Pork Limited (APL) sought to quantify the soil-health impacts of spraying effluent on the soil surface to better understand the practice’s value, and also investigate opportunities for soil-carbon sequestration. The project was initiated after an enquiry to the Vic Hub.

Project summary


Value for producers:

  • Quantifies the value of using effluent to improve soils
  • Justifies that when this practice is carefully monitored and matched with conditions, it can continue to be used as a valuable resource for soils
  • Identifies that the use of effluent on degraded soils can help in increasing nutrients, including soil carbon

Key findings:

  • Changes in carbon content between treated and non-treated paddocks were small, although some paddocks showed slight increases others showed none
  • Producers reported benefits of effluent spraying included increased crop yields, savings on pest control and a reduced need for other fertilisers
  • Paddocks treated with effluent can result in a lower pH and higher salinity which needs to be carefully managed
  • All sites treated with effluent had greater nutrient concentrations including nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and potassium

Australian Pork


 The full report can be downloaded here.



You can find a list of many of the Vic Hub’s projects across the state on our Projects page.