The SOILpak series aims to provide a range of best soil management practices to optimise crop and pasture yields.

SOILpak is intended for:

  • managers who want to learn more about how to manage their soil
  • consultants and extension officers who wish to become more skilled in advising their clients on soil management.

The publication can be purchased from the NSW Government Online Shop (shop.nsw) or downloaded in parts below.

Cotton Preliminaries
PDF, 111.6 KB
Cotton Part A
PDF, 208.7 KB
Cotton Part B
PDF, 659.7 KB
Cotton Part C
PDF, 1.0 MB
Cotton Part D
PDF, 864.8 KB
Cotton Part E
PDF, 582.6 KB
Cotton Appendices
PDF, 337.5 KB
Cotton Index
PDF, 87.7 KB

Table of contents


Part A. Introduction

A1. The aim of this manual
A2. The ideal soil for cotton
A3. District soil management problems

Part B. Quick help

B1. Trouble-shooting guide
B2. Soil preparation after a dry cotton harvest
B3. Harvesting cotton on wet soil
B4. Soil preparation options after a wet cotton harvest
B5. Soil preparation options after a rotation crop
B6. Nursing a cotton crop in a damaged soil
B7. Applying nutrients to the soil
B8. Managing variable fields
B9. Soil survey for development or redevelopment
B10. Soil preparation after landforming
B11. Cotton soil management and the environment
B12. Case studies

Part C. Diagnosing soil condition

C1. Soil pit digging: where, how and when?
C2. Features of the description sheets
C3. Soil moisture (before tillage), soil texture and available water
C4. Structural condition
C5. Structure after rotation crops and tillage
C6. Stubble
C7. Salinity
C8. Other tests
C9. Using moisture probe data
C10. Monitoring soil condition

Part D. Practical soil management: after the diagnosis

D1. Avoiding soil structure and waterlogging problems
D2. Improving soil structure
D3. Managing nutrients
D4. Avoiding salinity problems
D5. Minimising erosion and pesticide movement
D6. Maximising water use efficiency
D7. Achieving a suitable pH
D8. Dealing with gilgais
D9. Red soil management
D10. Extra notes for dryland growers

Part E. Background information

E1. Australian cotton soil
E2. Compaction and hardsetting
E3. Effects of sodicity and salinity on soil structure
E4. Clay minerals
E5. Organic matter and soil biota
E6. How soil structure and temperature affect plant growth
E7. Water movement


1. Sources of information
2. Further reading
3. More case studies are needed
4. Unit conversion
5. Glossary—soil management terminology
6. Soil pit description sheets
7. QDPI photo standards for stubble cover