User Guides

Understanding Land Units

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Identifying Land Units

Mapping land units is a core task when creating a freshwater farm plan. But what exactly is a land unit? Land Units are areas of land that share similar physical features. You can identify them by looking at the geology, soil, and landscape of your property. Apart from considering physical factors like soil type and slope, you should also think about management factors such as whether an area has artificial drainage or is irrigated, and whether there are environmental features like waterways, wetlands, and areas prone to flooding.

Why are LU’s Important?

Identifying LUs helps simplify the process of spotting environmental risks and then coming up with ways to reduce them. For example, if a part of your farm is flat and poorly drained, it might be prone to pugging damage, which could lead to problems like soil washing away into waterways. Steeper slopes on a farm are more likely to be prone to erosion and unsuitable for cultivation, cropping or intensive grazing. By identifying and mapping all the physically similar areas of a farm as LUs the risks can be identified and appropriate management actions applied to these areas.

Keep it Simple!

It is best to keep the number of LUs to the minimum required. This makes completing the rest of your plan much simpler. Areas with similar physical characteristics may occur as parcels of land that are not adjoining or connected but these can still be combined in your plan as a single LU. For example, a farm may have several hilly areas separated by native bush blocks. If the hilly areas have similar physical features and characteristics they should be identified and mapped as one LU even though they are not adjoining parcels of land.

Final Tip

When mapping your LUs, it is a good practice to mark units in different colours and name them with the most representative feature e.g. steeper slopes, rolling hills, river flats, or hump and hollow. This makes it easier to refer back to them in your plan.