Agricultural land has two major asset components, the soil resource and the farming system associated with it. The soil resource is a large complex structure consisting of mineral and organic particles in which plants can grow. The farming system is one that is profitable and maintains the production capacity of the land while minimising energy and resource use and optimising recycling of matter and nutrients (NACC, 2005).
Seventy percent of land in the NAR is dedicated to mixed farming, specifically broadacre grain crops, and livestock. Some more intensive agricultural land uses including horticulture exist in the higher rainfall areas closer to the coast (ABS, 2011).
An extensive assessment of high quality broadacre and irrigated agricultural land has recently been undertaken across a portion of the NAR including parts of the City of Greater Geraldton and the Shires of Northampton, Chapman Valley and Irwin. In a changing climate, productive land faces immense environmental stress which can present farmers with a variety of challenges (Tille et. al., 2013).